Yukoner cycles to title in Tour of Anchorage

Of the over 100 cyclists in last weekend’s Tour of Anchorage, only two were from the Yukon. But their presence meant two less available podium spots for Alaskans.

Of the over 100 cyclists in last weekend’s Tour of Anchorage, only two were from the Yukon. But their presence meant two less available podium spots for Alaskans after the five-stage event hosted by the Anchorage’s Arctic Bicycle Club.

Whitehorse cyclists Michael McCann and Bill Curtis took first and third place overall, respectively, in the master men (55 and over) category.

“It was good. There were very nice people over there, it was well organized, they’re good courses,” said McCann.

“It wasn’t a big field or anything, but it was a good experience,” said Curtis. “It was well organized and they showed us good hospitality. Yeah, I’d go back.”

McCann not only finished first overall, he won all five stages, building a nearly nine-minute lead over second-place’s Charles Gilbert. His overall time was three hours, 13 minutes and 46 seconds.

Stage 2’s Upper Potter Hill Climb, spanning about 3.5 kilometres, stands out as a particularly grueling stage.

“God, it’s a tough hill,” said McCann. “It starts right from the get-go and probably averages eight per cent (incline).”

McCann had participated in one stage of the Tour of Anchorage a few years ago, but it was Curtis’ first time in the event.

Curtis placed fifth in the first two stages, second in the next two and fourth in the final stage, which was enough to hang on to his third-place result overall.

“I had mechanical issues in the first race with my bike, and the second one was the hill climb and let’s say my strength-to-weight ratio is not appropriate,” said Curtis.

“It was a tough hill.

“I quite enjoyed it,” he added. “It was tough doing five races in four days.”

Stage 3’s downtown criterium race was Curtis’ first “crit.”

“I’ve had the opportunity in St. George (at the World Senior Games) to do them, but I’ve always passed, generally because I need the rest for the following day,” said Curtis. “But I decided to go into the crit to try and keep my place in the GC (general classification).

“That worked out quite well. I let Mike beat me,” he added jokingly. “I was right on his wheel.”

The two cyclists, both of whom are members of Whitehorse’s VeloNorth Cycling Club, plan to compete in the Tour of Juneau in a couple weeks and the Huntsman World Senior Games this October in St. George, Utah.

At last year’s World Senior Games, McCann won a gold, bronze and silver, and Curtis won a bronze.

McCann also won the 60-64 division at the BC Masters Series in Grand Forks, B.C. the last two years.

Last year’s expert men’s winner, Whitehorse’s Troy Henry, was absent from this year’s Tour.

“They kept asking about Troy Henry,” said McCann of the Anchorage cyclists.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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