Sunny skies and dry conditions (at last) greeted the riders on the morning of Sunday April 9th for Jeremy’s Roubaix which marked the opening round of the BC Premier Road Series. Named in honour of the late Jeremy Storie, the 10 kilometer circuit takes in a 5km gravel section to mimic the famed Paris Roubaix which takes place on the same day in France, with a total of 10 laps to be completed.
Following a successful training camp in California, all the Trek Red Truck riders were primed and ready to take on the best riders in British Columbia, with four major teams including TRT ensuring the race would be a fast and tactical affair. As is always the case in races dominated by a few major teams, the opening laps saw attack and counter attack before a group with the right representation was allowed to go clear. This group of four riders was made up of one from each of the four major teams, with Ty Andrews representing TRT’s interest. Behind in the peloton, content with the makeup of the group and with no team to organise a concerted chase, the pace stalled for three laps allowing the break to establish a lead of up to two minutes.
As the race entered its second half, the wind picked up ensuring the narrow gravel section of the circuit was now predominately a cross wind. Looking to capitalise on this, the Langois Brown duo of Dylan Davis and Nigel Kinney put the hammer down and split the race. Attentive to the danger were TRT riders Alex Murison and Brendan Armstrong, who then combined forces with the Langlois Brown duo to force the pace and ensure the race broke into pieces, with one from Smart Savy and Tag Racing tagging onto the back as well. This group of six proceeded to ride across the break away and after a lap of chasing the two groups merged to ensure a front group of 10 riders.
Feeling the effect of being in the day long break Ty rode full gas to ensure the group stayed clear for his TRT teammates before dropping back to the chasing group, leaving a front group of nine. As the finish loomed ever closer, the group continued to work, albeit with significantly less cohesion.
With two laps to go there was a flurry of attacks on the gravel sections but no single rider was able to break clear from the group. As the group crossed the line for the bell indicating one lap to go, further attacks began which lasted the entirety of the final lap. As he is known to have a strong sprint, Alex looked to simply follow the moves, whereas Brendan continued to attack to force a gap for a solo win. Again no attack would stick so all the riders’ thoughts turned to the inevitable group sprint.
Riding in the service of Alex, Brendan continued to ride on the front to ensure no last minute attack could go clear. Positioning in this sprint would be key, with the finish coming 250-300 meters after a 180 degree off camber right turn which was also still a gravel surface. On a normal course a turn such as this would dictate you needing to be first into the bend to have a strong chance of victory, but due to the slippery surface the riders would only be exiting the final turn at 20kph. This low speed exit would mean it would be a long sprint should one go from the corner exit.
Amiel Flett-Brown (NorthCoast Lumber 1 pb/ Giant) was the first to blink, attacking to ensure he was first into the final corner, with Alex second round the bend in a perfect position to sprint for the win. Unfortunately Amiels rear wheel slipped as he exited the corner meaning he lost all momentum. The knock on effect of this was that Alex was caught behind him and with Mitchel Ketler (Smart Savvy Garneau) moving up on the right hand side, Alex was forced to launch his sprint from the exit of the corner to avoid being boxed in. Unfortunately the finish came 10 meters too late and Alex crossed the line half a wheel behind Dylan Davies (Langois Brown) who took advantage of coming from behind and passed Alex with five meters to go. Although disappointed not to get the win, all the TRT riders performed superbly and the team is in fantastic shape for the upcoming races in both Canada and USA.
The women’s team also had a successful day with Anika Todd crossing the line solo to take the win with TRT riders also coming home in 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th following a dominant team performance.