Everyone new that the event and race were going to be filled with emotions. Clément Ouimet was one of the strongest riders in the fixed gear community of Montréal. He died a tragic death Wednesday, October 4 just a few days before the iBike Crit race event. His death was on one of the most popular training routes in Montréal. A route that has been on the municipal construction schedule for years. It is a shame that it takes death to speed up the municipal process. Cycling infrastructure improvements and safe cycling awareness will remain among the few consolations in wake of the avoidable tragedy.
Text: Josh Gieni
Photography: Gophrette Power
The men’s Cat 2 race was as fast as it has every been. The scene continues to grow and there are continuously more and more riders making the switch from road crit racing to fixed. Thanks to the Red Hook Crit and its continous evolution the smaller communities of the world are following their inspirational direction.
The women’s race developed as usual. The pack stayed together for the first few laps. Evelyn Sifton and Raphaele Lemieux then started to increase the pace and opened a gap on the rest of the field. As soon as the 5 lap count down came out, Raphaele changed gears and showed the crowd the depth of her world class power and handling skills winning on a solo breakaway.
The Cat 1 race was preceded by a few words in memory of Clément and a moment of silence. The race then started off with a rolling start symbolically lead by the father of Clément, Alexandre Ouimet. All the riders were racing in the honor of Clément. As a result, the dynamic of the course was very different. Usually the race takes form in undramatic fashion as riders calmly take their places in the peloton. This race was different. It was nervous and full of uncontrolled energy. There were multiple crashes, 1 restart, a couple trips to the hospital. There was no formed peloton to be found. The race finished with the 2 strongest riders riding away from the rest of the field and eventually lapping everyone. Nicolas Côté and Antoine Fabry displayed a level of conditioning with maintained speeds beyond your basic parking lot crit and destroyed the field. Both riders are registered for the RHC in Milan. These riders, along with Raphaele Lemieux will be taking this extra energy and power from Clément with them to Milan. Raphaele, Nicolas and Antoine will be riding for Clément. Montréal anticipates that the extraordinary circumstance will be cause for extraordinary riding. The emotionally charged Canadians will be riders to watch for in Milan.
The Montreal fans have no unattainable expectations for the representatives in Milan. We will all be following the race developments with both pride and tears. Clément will forever be remembered by his brothers and sisters that raced with him and now race for him.
Men’s Cat1 podium
1. Clément Ouimet forever number 1 (honorary No.1)
2. Antoine Fabry
3. Nicolas Côté
1. Raphaele Lemieux
2. Evelyne Sifton
3. Marjolaine Ouimet
Men’s cat2 podium
1. Benjamin Toutant
2. Paul Fagnan
3. Louis Allie