HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Cyclist Derek Gee of Osgoode, ON., has been set free. And he’s loving it.
For the past two seasons, the 24-year-old has focused on riding in circles, or more accurately, in ovals. And it paid off. Gee was a key member of Canada’s team pursuit track squad, which continually broke the Canadian record and finished a commendable fifth at the recent Tokyo Summer Olympic Games.
Now that his first Olympics are complete, he ventured outside and made a double, big splash in the men’s elite category at last weekend’s Canadian road cycling championships in Beauce, Que.
Racing for his UCI Continental team X-Speed United, Gee emerged as the bronze medallist in both the 34-kilometre individual time trial and the 198-kilometre road race.
Gee surprised himself as he won his first two national championship medals in the men’s elite category. At the 2015 Canadian championships, he captured the men’s junior individual time trial.
“I’m incredibly happy to come away from the national road championships with two bronze medals!” Gee wrote in an email.
“It was my first road race in a couple of years and it went significantly better than I was expecting. I’m really looking forward to doing more road racing in the future!”
In the opening elite men’s time trial, Gee covered the 38-kilometre course in 43 minutes, 33.288 seconds, which left him 1:45.041 behind winner Hugo Houle of Quebec and Astana-Premier Tech.
Gee had a finishing sprint with Alexis Cartier of Quebec and Velo 2000/Rhino Rack and Paul Blanc Paque of Cycle Regis/360 Agency before seizing the bronze medal in the road race. He completed the five-lap, 198-kilometre course in 4:57:12, which left him 4:09 behind winner Guillaume Boivin of Quebec and Israel Start-Up Nation.
Jazmine Lavergne of Aylmer and Joey Desjardins of Hawkesbury, ON., also were double medallists at the Canadian championships.
Lavergne, who races for Team Quebec and the Quebec-Stingray squad, won the 16-kilometre women’s junior individual time trial and placed third in the road race.
She won the time trial in 26:16.212 for a margin of victory of 1:01.108. Despite a fall in the 86.7-kilometre road race, she finished one second behind the top two finishers in 2:40:11 and was the lead rider in a group of five following riders, who were chasing the bronze medal.
A natural sciences student at Heritage College, Lavergne is a former junior team member with the Ottawa Bicycle Club.
Desjardins, who competed at the recent Tokyo Paralympics, earned the silver medal in the men’s H3 (hand cycling), 16-kilometre individual time trial with a factored time of 28:47.30, and the bronze medal in the 48.8-kilometre road race in 1:48:46.
Ottawa Bicycle Club’s Rajiv Das was sixth in the men’s H4 individual time trial with a factored time of 42:14.27, and was two laps down in the road race, but placed fifth.
Calleigh Filmer of Ottawa’s Cyclery Racing finished fifth in the women’s elite individual time trial. She needed 41:50.324 to complete the 28-kilometre challenge and was 1:51.99 behind 2020 Olympian Alison Jackson of LIV Racing. Jackson was the only racer under 40 minutes at 39:58.436.
Jeremie La Grenade of Ottawa’s Ride with Rendell presented/by Biemme team was 10th in the men’s U23, 34-kilometre individual time trial in 46:38.384.
At the Canadian masters cycling championships on Labour Day weekend in Victoriaville, Que., Jodi Wendland of Cyclery Racing and Joel Katz of the Ottawa Bicycle Club emerged as national champions.
Wendland, a notable cyclocross rider, used an untouchable final push in the last 200 metres to edge Marie-Helene Carrier of Eq. Feminine Polo Velo and Nancy Gillan of Agowatt Experience Eq. Feminime and win the women’s masters E road race gold medal. All three cyclists had the same time of 2:07:09.
In the men’s masters D individual time trial of 23.7 kilometres, Katz placed first with a time of 34:25.47. He averaged 41.31 kilometres an hour.
Other top-10 showings came from Craig Hawkes, Cyclery Racing, men’s masters B, sixth, road race; Mike Nash, Ride with Rendell presented/by Biemme, men’s masters B, seventh, individual time trial; Robert Orange, Ride with Rendell presented by Biemme, men’s masters C, eighth in both time trial and criterium; Mark Sherboneau, Ride with Rendell presented/by Biemme, men’s masters A, eighth, time trial; and Ian Dalling, Cyclery Racing, men’s masters C, ninth, road race.
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.