Whistler's Will Routley gave away his chance to defend his national road title in Burlington, Ontario on Saturday, yielding the top spot to Team Spidertech powered by C10 teammate Svein Tuft.
It could have gone to any of the SpiderTech riders, but Routley and Zachary Bell - who were away on a break until Tuft bridged up - had a conference heading into the final climb and decided that the win would go to Tuft - a veteran racer and a leader on SpiderTech.
"You never know what's going to go on and I was just glad about how we took on the race and to sweep the podium - that was great," Tuft told Canadian Cyclist . "But when I got up (to the front) they basically told me 'it's a gift.' So like I said, I can't thank these guys enough. It's a pretty awesome feeling."
Routley crossed the line in second and Bell in third, completing the 180 km road race in 4:32:09 - averaging almost 40 km/h from start to finish on the rolling hills of the Niagara Escarpment.
Fourth place went to Rob Britton, 1.43 seconds back of the leaders.
Three other SpiderTech racers finished in the top 10, with Hugo Houle - the top Under 23 racer - placing fifth, Bruno Langlois ninth and Francois Parisien 10th.
Routley called it a textbook race.
"The majority of the race I was up front and in the wind, but I felt good and it was the place to be," he said to Canadian Cyclist . "We came with the goal to win the race, and we were lucky to do that and sweep the podium, so it was a pretty great day for the team.
"Ultimately we wanted to take control of the race and not have any risk. The big goal was that we wanted that jersey."
Although it's every man for himself in a one-stage road race like the nationals, SpiderTech entered the race this year determined to win after Routley - who was racing for another team last season - ruined their chances in 2010.That desire to win brought tactics into play for SpiderTech - Canada's only pro continental team on the UCI circuit - that other riders and teams couldn't match.
There was also a time trial and criterium at the nationals. Routley only participated in the road and criterium event, placing sixth in the criterium - and first overall for the weekend with points in the road race and crit.
Routley's teammate Svein Tuft won the time trial, giving him two national titles for the season.
David Veilleux of Team Europcar won the men's criterium, followed by Derrick St. John. Whistler's Benjamin Chaddock, who has also been racing professionally the last two years, placed third with Team Exergy.
Complete results and race reports are online at www.canadiancyclist.com.
With the road nationals over, Routley said he plans to stick close to home for the next month to train. He'll also take part in the B.C. Superweek events, including the Tour de Delta and Tour de White Rock. The Tour de Gastown was cut due to sponsorship issues, but was replaced with two new events, the UBC Grand Prix and the Giro di Burnaby. After that he rejoins his team to head to Europe for some more races, then returns to Canada for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal in September.
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