Gastown Grand Prix photos: Cycling action in Vancouver

Optum team dominates 2013 Gastown Grand Prix.

Gastown Grand Prix photos: Men's and Women's races

GGP: Demons on wheels

As the women swung around the hairpin corner, I am reminded of how fast a cyclist I’m not. The Gastown Grand Prix was underway.

Here you can see some photos of the men’s and women’s races, shot from the corner of Carrall and Richards, and from along Water Street just west of the Steam Clock.

The Gastown Grand Prix (GGP) is a criterium: a series of laps around a short track, in this case 1.2km with two particularly sharp turns. The GGP riders are chased by a silver Aston Martin: if the official in the car pulls a rider, that rider is out of the race.

Aston Martin: The chase car

The women’s race consists of 30 laps around the course for a total of 36km. Here is the podium:

  1. Leah Kirchmann, Optum - Kelly Benefit Strategies
  2. Gillian Carleton, Specialized - Lululemon
  3. Robin Farina, NOW and Novartis for MS

Leah Kirchmann fended off challengers by several bike lengths, scoring a hat trick of victories in British Columbia. Kirchmann had also won the UBC Grand Prix on Tuesday and the Delta road race on Sunday.

The men’s race consists of 50 laps around the course for a total of 60km. Here is the podium:

  1. Ken Hanson, Optum - Kelly Benefit Strategies
  2. Eric Young, Optum - Kelly Benefit Strategies
  3. Florenz Knaver, Team Baier

Midway through the race, it looked like Christian Meier (Orica-Greenedge) had it in the bag, until Zach Bell (Champion System) chased him down. Then Optum executed its team-based strategy, taking advantage of their numbers to lead a catch-up sprint. Optum’s Ken Hanson and Eric Young crossed the line in a one-two finish.

The criterium is a spectator-friendly event, since you get to see the athletes whiz by dozens of times, rather only once along a 100-mile course.

Here are some more photos from the GGP, and make sure to check out the slideshow at the top of this article. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to revisit my training regime.

 

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