2016 Kiwi National Criterium Champion Regan Gough wins Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix

Photo credit: Scott Robarts

1987 was the last year a cyclist from New Zealand was atop the podium at the $50,000 Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, but that changed on Wednesday night as Kiwi Regan Gough sprinted ahead of Canadian Emile Jean and German Marcel Franz to win one of North America’s most presitgious and richest criterium races.

Gough, Jean, Franz and Ulises Castillo Soto were part of a four man break to go up the road just 19 laps into the race and were able to make it stick until the end. “It was a hard finish, we were all watching one another,” said Gough, who was a member of the New Zealand team that rode the second fastest time in history at the Cambridge World Cup this past January. “This finish is so hard and it’s just a matter of who’s going to risk it and who’s got the horsepower to do it. It was an honest finish and I’m glad to come out on top.”

With New Zealand, Floyd’s Pro Cycling and Elevate-KHS Pro Cyling represented in the break, it was clear the peloton would have a tough time reeling them in. “I think that break had all the big elements – a rider from the big teams – so that allowed us to get a pretty good gap early on,” said Jean, who made his second podium appearance at BC Superweek this year. “From there it was just hard riding till the finish and then just a sprint between the four of us.”

Gough, a 26-year-old former Olympian for New Zealand was riding in Gastown for the first time, nabbed his second win of BC Superweek after he was victorious at Friday North Delta Criterium to kick off the nine race, ten-day series. “These courses are gnarly, it’s some of the most fun and hardest racing I’ve ever done and to have the crowds here cheering away, and it’s awesome,” he added. “You don’t experience this in many other places so I’m grateful for everyone coming out and cheering and watching.”

Jean showed clear disappointment post-race as he just couldn’t catch Gough on the final straightaway to the finish line along Water Street, which is Vancouver’s oldest street. “There was a lot of cat and mouse on that last lap, a lot of looking around and then it was just all about that last turn, heading for the line full gas,” he explained. “I was third here last year and this year I’m one better, but to be honest this one kind of hurts because I was so close. But it happens, that’s just bike racing.”

Franz is riding for Heizomat Rad-Net at BC Superweek and the third place finish in Gastown is his best result of the week. The 23-year-old was ninth in Sunday’s White Spot | Delta Road Race. Meanwhile, Boulder, Colorado’s Eric Young, riding for Elevate-KHS Pro Cyling, was looking to make history as the only rider to win the 50-lap, 65 kilometre Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix four times, but he wound up in 12th place. His teammate Castillo Soto finished fourth.