Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank Speedster Kendall Ryan Wins Third Straight in Gastown

Photo credit: Scott Robarts

Kendall Ryan made history on Wednesday in the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix women’s race, taking the win for the third straight year. It’s an accomplishment that only one other woman has ever achieved as Verna Buhler also won the race three times in a row (1981-83). Ryan also joins a select group of riders to win the prestigious race three times overall.

Buhler and Gina Grain have each posted three victories in the famed race and Grain was in attendance front row for Ryan’s victory. She shared some words post-race with the 26-year-old from Ventura, California. “She said come back next year and win four, you’ve got to beat me,” laughed Ryan.

A field that featured 82 registered riders – the largest in the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix’s storied history – didn’t make it easy on Ryan as she had fewer of her TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank teammates on the start line and found herself chasing throughout the race. “They threw the kitchen sink at us today, so that was fun – I threw up in my mouth a little bit, had a flat – just a whole bunch of stuff happened,” the three-time US National Champion described.

Despite a downpour a couple of times earlier in the day that left huge puddles on the road, the skies cleared up in time for the 40-lap, 52 kilometre race start. However, the dampness caused the riders to be a bit more cautious. “This is a crazy course, especially when it was wet, but it dried throughout the race so we could take the corners a little hotter,” said Ryan, who pockets $12,000 for the win. “I was just testing it the whole time to see how fast I could take that last corner. I just came off my teammate Sharlotte’s wheel after a huge lead out by her on the last half a lap, turned the turbos and hoped for the best.”

In second place was Lily Williams from the Hagens Berman – Supermint team. She improved on a sixth place finish in Gastown a year ago. Maple Ridge, BC’s Maggie Coles-Lyster was third – her first podium at the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix after finishing fifth in 2018 and eighth in 2017. The 20-year-old knew Ryan was the rider to keep an eye on in the final lap.

Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, 2019, BC Superweek. Photo by Scott Robarts

“I knew I had to be on Kendall’s wheel to have a chance to podium in that sprint. It was just elbows bumping through that last corner and it came down to my confidence in riding on wet cobble,” said Coles-Lyster, who riders for the US-based Pickle Juice Pro Cycling team. “I just took a chance to shoot that last corner on the inside and it put me in the perfect position because I lost her wheel for a bit. I felt like I was gonna puke on that last sprint, but I got on the podium, so it was worth it!”

Coles-Lyster has become a crowd favourite over the years at BC Superweek, since she first began riding the series as a junior at age 14. “It feels so amazing, I remember my first year doing this – six years ago – and going into it, my dad always told me, ‘Every race you go into, just say you’re going to win it!’ So I went into it saying that, but of course I didn’t finish it at that time,” she said. “Now to be able to actually make that dream a reality and get on the podium, and in the future, hopefully win.”

Along with Grain and Buhler, Ryan joins Ron Hayman and Eric Young as the only cyclists to ever win the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix three times. “It feels awesome, I love this race, the crowd’s amazing and there’s just great vibes here in Vancouver.”

BC Superweek continues Thursday with the Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Development in the historic Heights Neighbourhood of Burnaby. The women race at 6:15 pm while the men race at 7:30 pm.