Tour de Gatineau returns to calendar and sees first UCI win for Megan Jastrab

After an interlude of four years, the Tour de Gatineau made an emphatic return from 15th-17th September, re-energising the Canadian women’s cycling scene. Participants from six different nations graced the event, a testament to its global appeal. Behind this resurgence were former pro cyclists, Karol-Ann Canuel and Alex Cataford. They persuaded local stakeholders to see the event’s potential. However, the National Capital Commission’s refusal meant the race couldn’t follow its traditional Gatineau Park circuit. Instead, ‘The British’ pub became the new hub, drawing large, enthusiastic crowds.

The event kicked off with a 17.3 km time trial, predominantly on a flat course but ending each lap with a challenging 400-metre ascent. Anna Kiesenhofer of Israel Premier Tech Roland outpaced her competitors, being the only rider to break the 22-minute barrier. Close on her heels was Team USA’s Amber Neben and USA’s Emily Ehrlich with only a slim gap separating them. Paris Roubaix winner Alison Jackson put on a commendable performance, representing Team Canada, to finish in the top five.

The subsequent 112-km road race introduced racers to a technical circuit of seven kilometres, to be tackled 16 times. The complexity of the track took its toll; of the 88 riders who started, only 47 managed to finish, with crashes marring the initial laps. Local talent, Laury Milette, attempted a breakaway, but the combined might of USA and Canada squads ensured the race remained tight. In a thrilling finish, Team USA’s Megan Jastrab sprinted to victory, with Alison Jackson and Skylar Schneider completing the podium.

Reflecting on the event, general manager Karol-Ann Canuel couldn’t hide her joy. She remarked on the overwhelming local support, stating that the event’s success surpassed her expectations. The Tour de Gatineau’s grand return will be rounded off with a criterium, set to take place on Sunday.

2023 Chrono de Gatineau result

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2023 Grand Prix Gatineau result

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