For the 5th time the Ibike Crit was held in cooperation with the Jackalope Fest, a festival that brings together action sports with a focus on skateboarding wherein living legend Tony Hawk was the main guest this year. For the fixed gear crit the course was going halfway around the Olympic Stadium of Montreal. With some fast chicanes and 2 hairpins, of which one was quite narrow, the course had both technical and fast parts suiting both the more technical and the stronger riders. On top of that, the strong head, tail and side winds played a decisive role, as the course looped halfway around the stadium. In total 12 women and 40 men registered to battle for victory. With Red Hook Crit London No.3 winner and current no.2 in the RHC series, Raphaele Lemieux, other international top riders like Addison Zawada, and Brian Megens mixed with local top riders including Nicolas Cote being present, the level was high.
Photography: Gabriel Lalonde-Francoeur
In both the women’s and the men’s field qualification heats were held to give the riders the chance to get familiar with the course, but more importantly to rank the grid for the finals. In the women’s heat it was Raphaele Lemieux who confirmed and won her heat. In the men’s heat it was Antoine Fabry from The Pack taking the win while Brian Megens also confirmed by winning his heat.
In the women’s final, Raphaele Lemieux controlled the race and decided a couple of laps before the end that her safest way to victory was a solo. Behind her a group of three, Chelsea Matias, Evelyn Sifton, and Laurie Coulombe, battled for the remaining 2 podium spots. In the sprint for those podium spots there was confusion – a rider who should have left the track as she was about to get lapped, got in the way of the sprint which prevented Laurie from having a chance for podium. In the end it was Matias and Sifton who took 2nd and 3rd place behind Raphaele Lemieux who dominated both the qualification as the final. She looks ready to battle with the world’s top in RHC Barcelona!
In the men’s final, Antoine Fabry and Brian Megens lined up at the front of the grid. From the start, the pace was set by Brian Megens who made an early move resulting in 10 riders being present in the front group. In this group Team Ibike and The Pack were well represented with multiple riders. Brian, who was aiming for a hard race, attacked twice but both The Pack and Ibike, with a very strong riding youngster, Nicolas Cote, didn’t let the European claim ‘a simple’ solo victory. After some laps solo Brian’s attacks were neutralised. With 5 laps to go it was clear that the front group of 7 riders would compete for victory.
Going into the last lap, 2 riders from The Pack led the group and attempted a duo attack. However, independent rider Remi Fagnand was alert and bridged the gap quickly with Brian and Nicolas in his wheel. After the hairpin, on the long straight with head wind, both Brian and Nicolas attacked and gained a few meters on the rest of the group. Nicolas went in the last hairpin first but Brian smartly took the inside line and came out of the corner alongside Nicolas. With 200m to go both Nicolas and Brian were giving it all to sprint for the win. In the end, it was Brian Megens that took the victory and Nicolas Cote had to settle for 2nd place while Addison Zawada, who just came back from a multiple-day single trial race, managed to out sprint the rest of the first group and completed the podium.
“It was a hard race, I had to give it all to get that win (…) it was a close one. I am really happy that I got the chance to come to Canada and race with the guys here! It is just awesome to see the sport trying to establish itself all over the world. The level might be more spread than in a top country like Italy or the Netherlands, but the top riders here do have serious power. I mean you guys have a Red Hook Criterium winner with Raphaele Lemieux and don’t underestimate youngster Nicolas Cote with who I battled for victory with, this guy might be up there too in a couple years but already pushed me to give everything today.”
“What impressed both the spectators as well as me the most was the caliber. The fact that a rider like Brian Megens did not run away with the victory says a lot about the growing scene here in eastern Canada. We are proud to be organizing this race year after year with the goal of developing young race talent and the fixed gear racing scene in general.” Race director Josh Gieni, owner of the Velo Ibike shop in Montreal and one of the main guys that works on establishing the sport in Canada.
1. Raphaele Lemieux – Team Ibike
2. Chelsea Mattias – Rodagira Laser Team
3. Evelyn Sifton – Aerosaur
4. Laurie Colombe – Unattached
5. Melissa Markel – Team Ibike
1. Brian Megens – Fixedgearcrit.com
2. Nicolas Cote – Team Ibike
3. Addison Zawada – Team Ibike
4. Remi Fagnand – Unattached
5. Clement Ouiment – The Pack