The Jazz Apple quartet tuned their instruments for yet another multi-movement classical composition in the 35th annual Tour de Gastown last night. Laced in history, Tour de Gastown is set on an irregular rectangle-shaped cobbled course that includes one, 180 degree left hander, tricky enough that it has long attracted a who's-who in cycling to it's downtown Vancouver lair.
Brimming with over 40,000 supporters, the women's event included two of the Canadian Olympic team members, both Vancouver locals, Gina Grain and Erinne Willock driving the crowd into a frenzy of a hometown anticipation. Propelling from the line, Grain captured the first prime on the second lap, and openly revealing her on-form condition, Grain jumped clear from the group. As Grain gained seconds, Jazz Apple's Malindi Maclean skirted to the front and Susy Pryde was able to launch across solo within a lap. The pair gained time but Aaron's Alison Testroete tarried to pursue the escapees and they were reabsorbed just before a healthy cash prime. As smooth as butter on the cobbled course, Lauren Ellis flew onto the sprint train and covered Erin Willock's counter, spreading out the oxygen starved field leading into the next $600 crowd prime. With Maclean hovering like a well-crafted Zeppelin, Ellis maneuvered into position in the hair-pin turn before calamity struck. Maclean's seat broke, and sensing Maclean's sudden absence, Ellis rocketed out of the front fold and gained a 5 second advantage. Cheerwine's Sarah Bamburger drove the front and with Grain glued to her wheel, Grain jumped out to just clip Ellis on the line.
At two to go the Genius-sheathed duo of Ruth Corset and Pryde propelled to the front setting up for the concerto. As Willock built up steam, Pryde jockeyed position with Corset on her wheel. Approaching the final turn, Corset confidently slipped onto the wheel of Cheerwine speedster, Kelly Benjamin. As Grain launched in the sprint with Benjamin and Corset, Pryde hesitated to create a gap that saw the three jump clear on the finish stretch. With fever pitch, the three hit the line stretched across the road with their scabbard's lunging forward for the victory. In a dramatically close finish, Grain took a popular hometown victory over Benjamin and Corset was third, who now has shown she has a rather handy pair of sprinter's pins to match her climbing prowess.
Tonight the quartet move to Burnaby for another evening event before the start of tomorrow's Tour de Whiterock.
1. Gina Grain
2. Kelly Benjamin
3. Ruth Corset
4. Alison Testroete
5. Lisa Howard
6. Jenny Trew
7. Melissa Sanborn
8. Susy Pryde
9. Lara Kroepsch
10. Monique Hanley
Salvaging a few hours respite following the 'Gastown' extravaganza, the Jazz Apple four jetted to the podium again in Vancouver's, Giro de Burnaby on Thursday.
The lithe and incredibly improved, Lauren Ellis smoked out of the bunch time and again in an effort for a breakaway while eventual third place finisher, Ruth Corset took a day adopting a plucky sprinter's spirit. Ellis's brazen strength fortuitously minced the field into a bit-sized group, and Maclean and Pryde were able to sprint for cash primes with Pryde snaring the evening's crowd prime. Approaching the line, Corset lept from the clutches of the field with Cheerwine's, Kelly Benjamin and Webcor's, Gina Grain reacting in unison. The ending was nothing short of the dramatic, nail-biting kind but the photo finish established that Corset was unable to hold off the pair, with Benjamin taking the victory over Grain and Corset.
Jazz Apple's Lauren Ellis torched the field in the concluding stage of the Tour de Whiterock leaving the field badly charred on the abrupt slopes of yesterday's race circuit set on Whiterock Bluff.
As attrition was beginning to bite hard on the unforgiving course, Ellis and Pryde drove a break of 6 that included Corset over the crest of the day's most difficult incline. Ellis catapulted from the wilting cluster as the few converged on the quickly approaching QOM hill, and only heads hung low in response. In an incredible display of strength, the 19 year old proceeded to crest climb after climb on the 10km circuit alone with only the Pacific zephyrs accompanying her crusade. As Ellis' lead extended to over 3 minutes, tour leader, Corset and Pryde settled in to the coveted role out of the wind, nullifying any threats to the growing lead. Willfully crunching through the taxing two and half hour event, Ellis had abundant time to enjoy an emphatic victory in front of the marvelling crowd. The remnants of the field appeared over 3 minutes later with Pryde leading out Corset into the finish. Corset nailed second place and Giant's Stephanie Roorda was third over Cheerwine's Sarah Bamburger.
Enhancing the morning's outing, Corset secured the overall Whiterock victory with her impressive sprinting and climbing consistancy, spelling the end to Jazz Apple's most successful BC Superweek yet having swooped two overall wins in Delta and Whiterock, as well as podium finishes in Gastown and Burnaby.
Thank you to our loyal and splendid sponsors and supporters, we're but a bockety wheel without you.
Jazz Apple/ ENZA
Champion Systems Clothing
JCL Construction/ BioVapor
The Linder family
The Duffy family
The Jazz Apples got some great media coverage in North America - a great pity that they aren't better supported by BikeNZ and the NZ media, as they have achieved some superb results and helped develop some stars of women's road racing - names I'm sure we'll all se a lot more of!
Here are some links to some of this coverage:
Before the last few races Emma headed off to South Africa to do Junior Worlds. Ruth has begun her trek to France to race Limousin with Australia, and Malindi and Lauren are heading back to Monterey tomorrow for a couple of weeks. Everyone was so awesome and we had a really super time. Everything looks super stellar again for another year of Jazz Apple, so we're excited.
Congratulations to Susy, Ruth, Ali, Emma, Malindi, Belinda, Lauren and Chris for providing us all with some great racing and super results. I'm stoked to be associated in some small way with this incredible Team and look forward to many future adventures with the Jazz Apples!