Sports

Langley cyclists deliver one-two punch at nationals

A pair of local riders delivered a one-two punch at the Canadian road time trial championships.

Langley’s Svein Tuft and Christian Meier won gold and silver, respectively last Thursday (June 21) in Lac Meagantic, Que.

Tuft posted a time of 47 minutes and 26 seconds on the 39-kilometre course to win his fifth straight Canadian time trial title and his eighth overall. Meier was 2:08 behind his teammate, who both ride for Australian team Orica-GreenEdge.

Despite the victory, Tuft was passed over by Cycling Canada to represent the country at the upcoming London Summer Olympics.

With just one spot for a Canadian rider in both the road race and time trial, Cycling Canada chose Ryder Hesjedal, who made history last month as the first Canadian to win the Giro d’Italia.

Tuft said he understands the decision, adding that the problem is that Canada only had a single spot.

As for riding at nationals, Tuft said it was all preparation.

“I wanted to defend the title, of course, but for me, my approach and the way I ride are more important to me than the result,” said Tuft on his team’s website.

“I’m not interested in only having a good ride today, I’m looking down the road at the world time trial championships. It’s a huge goal for the team, and I want to contribute to us having a good crack at it there. Every time I’m on the time trial bike, it’s in preparation for that end of the season goal.”

“Today is super satisfying,” he added. “I did everything I could with the course I had.”

The course favored Tuft’s strengths.

“The time trial was run on wide open roads over heavy rolling terrain,” Tuft said. “It was hot and windy today. We did three laps, and on the return trip, we climbed into a headwind. As long as the climbing isn’t too steep, a heavy course suits me.”

Experienced in time trials of this distance in all conditions, Tuft cut back on his warm-up and paid extra attention to his hydration ahead of the effort in the heat.

“I’ve learned that a long warm-up isn’t important when it’s this hot,” noted Tuft. “It’s far more important to focus on cooling efforts and hydration. I definitely did that. I spoke regularly with Marc Quod, the trainer for our team. He kept me on course for the appropriate approach. While my experience has helped me know how to prepare, it’s definitely nice to have him as back-up to guide me.”

In addition to contact with Quod, Tuft and Meier enjoyed on-site support from the British Columbia provincial team.

“They’ve been really super to us. They have no obligation to look after us. They have a bunch of young kids — juniors, U23 riders, upcoming guys. They run a good program, and we’re lucky to have their support.

Meier will serve as the Pro Ride ambassador for the Prospera Valley GranFondo, which takes place July 22 in Fort Langley.

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