Alison Jackson reclaims Canadian national road title
Jackson wins national champions jersey after a strong sprint in Edmonton, Alberta
For the second time in her career, Alison Jackson is the Canadian road national champion.
"I’m really looking forward to representing the maple leaf for another year. There’s really nothing like it. Not sure red goes with pink though, so someone’s going to have to do something about that," Alison said laughing after the finish.
The racing kicked off in Edmonton, Alberta, just a two hour drive away from Alison’s hometown of Vermilion. The 10.7 kilometer circuit snaked along the North Saskatchewan River and through downtown, taking in several challenging climbs along the way for a total of 124 kilometers.
Fellow Albertan Sara Poidevin launched the first attack of the day on the third lap of the circuit. Poidevin managed to build a four minute gap to the bunch behind allowing Jackson to sit in the pack and conserve her energy.
“I just kept going, because the time kept going up,” Sara said of her solo breakaway ride. “I was taking it one lap at a time because I knew not to smash myself in the first 40 kilometers. But also, because the time is going up, then I'm going to keep riding, because nationals is always a different race. There aren't full teams and so the tactics are really different. When you have a lot of like individual riders who are strong, they can look around and try to get other people to work before they have to do anything. And that was the case until the last couple of laps on the course when I still had about two minutes going into the last two laps.”
The peloton caught Poidevin on the final lap of the circuit. By that point, there was just a small group of riders left in the pack and attacks were coming thick and fast. With the finale approaching, Alison kicked repeatedly on the last climb, managing to go clear of the bunch with a small group of two. From that point on, Alison knew the race was hers.
"We had confidence that with me behind, we had good options," Alison said. "I really thought she was going to bring it home. There was nothing going on in the peloton but then when we caught her with one lap to go I knew I was the freshest since I had gotten a sit-in. So from that moment on, pressure was on me to finish it off. After a teammate does such a strong race, there's no other option but to win it for the team."
Alison outsprinted the two riders and took an emotional win in her home province.
Alison’s win today is her second of the season after her memorable victory at Paris-Roubaix. The 34-year-old races again tomorrow in the Canadian criterium national championship.
"It super special for both Sara and I to race in our home province," Alison said. "We don’t get many bike races in Alberta. All our families were here, so to get to win in front of family is pretty special."
We can’t wait to see what dance Alison comes up with to celebrate reclaiming her maple leaf jersey.