Tuft and Roorda win UBC Grand Prix
Canadian strongman Svein Tuft left two-thirds of an impressive pro field sitting on the sidelines early at the second annual UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday night.
It took until the final straightaway for Tuft to shake German Dominik Roels.
Tuft, who competes on the top-level World Tour in Europe for Orica-GreenEDGE, and Roels, who rode at the same level until retiring in 2011 to travel the world and go back to school, spent more than half the 50-kilometer race alone on a two-man breakaway, building a nearly one minute lead on the group before Tuft won the late sprint to the finish line. After racing Grand Tours alongside Roels in the past, Tuft knew he wouldn’t go away easily.
“I remember racing with this guy back in Vuelta [a Espana],” Tuft said after finishing 50 laps around the one-kilometer UBC campus course in one hour, three minutes, and 23.86 seconds.
“He’s been around and I know he’s a handy bike rider, the kind of guy who can really suffer and you know you get in a breakaway with him he’s going to do what he can.”
Roels appeared to be suffering at times staying with Tuft, who is coming off the Giro d’Italia and his fifth-straight Canadian Time Trial Championship, but hung on, even winning a sprint with three laps to go to take home a $700 bonus collected from the crowd at the UBC campus. He couldn’t stay ahead coming out of the last corner, however, giving Tuft his second win of BC Superweek.
“It was so hard especially in the beginning,” said Roels, who broke his bike in a crash at the Tour de Delta Friday, but finished third in Sunday’s Road race on a borrowed ride. “Svein was pushing and I was really, really suffering to hold on.”
Australian sprinter Hilton Clark won a bunch sprint for third place, finishing ahead of a group whittled down to 32 at the finish line after 96 riders started.
“I didn’t even see Svein go, he was just off in the distance,” said Clarke, who rides for United Healthcare Pro Cycling. “I guess it’s stating the obvious that you have to look out for him when he attacks. I had to just sprint for third.”
Steph Roorda, coming off the overall win at the Tour de Delta, also spent more than half of the 30-lap women’s race alone, finishing in 43 minutes, 55.34 seconds – 40 seconds ahead of the bunch sprint for second place.
“It wasn’t the plan, it just felt like a good time to attack, no one came with me and once you get a gap you have to keep rolling it,” said Roorda, an alternate for the Canadian Olympic track team. “Maybe riding with a little anger in my belly after not being selected for the Olympics, which gives me an extra boost here.”
Loren Rowney, an Australian riding for the Specialized Lululemon pro women’s team, beat Utah’s Nick Wangsgard in the sprint for second place.
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