Happy to be back racing alongside a full crew, Whistler’s Will Routley helped Team SpiderTech to an overall victory at the three-stage Tour of Elk Grove in Chicago, which finished Sunday (Aug. 5).
Team SpiderTech’s Francois Parisien won the individual title thanks to a great group performance from the pro squad, one that Routley had little time to cherish before heading off to his next big event.
“I am really happy with our race in Chicago,” Routley told The Question in an email. “It was a real serious example of a team effort and we were the dominant squad in the race.”
After more than five hours of racing over the three stages, Parisien held on atop the general classification standings by just one second. Parisien grabbed the overall lead after Saturday’s second stage and was able to hang on with a fourth-place finish in Sunday’s closing stage. Team SpiderTech led the chase group that reeled in a three-rider breakaway over the final 40 kilometres, helping Parisien to the victory.
“It was great to control the front of the race,” said Routley. “We set Frank (Parisien) up for the time bonus sprints and he moved into the leader’s jersey, then we continued to ride a textbook race all weekend (to take) the win overall.”
The Tour of Elk Grove was a welcome return to full-team racing for Routley, who had just one SpiderTech mate with him during B.C. Superweek races last month.
“It was great to be with the guys again,” said Routley. “We have a good group, and after time at home, everyone was happy and motivated to go out and get back to work. For me, it was the first spot of good fitness I’ve felt in a while. I’m on the way back up working towards my September race campaign and it is good to have the body start to come back again.”
Routley had just one rest day before the Tour of Utah began on Tuesday (Aug. 7) and the 29-year-old said the six-day race could be challenging for him with a drastic altitude change in between.
“If my legs come around and I feel good, I’ll certainly take the opportunity and go for a result on one of the stages – I always love to race aggressively,” he said. “But we also have some guys here that are climbing well and have prepped at altitude specifically for this race, and I’ll be happy to support them if they’re in contention.”
Before returning to Europe for a busy fall schedule, Routley will also race the UCI World Tour events in Quebec.
Fellow Whistler resident Ben Chaddock was also in action at the Tour of Elk Grove with his pro Team Exergy. It was the highest-level UCI race that the reigning Canadian criterium champ has raced in this season and also his last of the campaign with Team Exergy.
Chaddock said his crew was plagued by mechanical problems and crashes throughout the weekend, so the Idaho-based squad was never a major factor in Chicago.
“(On Sunday) I had to jump off course to avoid an accident and was not able to rejoin the field as it blazed to the line in the closing kilometres,” said Chaddock, detailing just one of the tough breaks Team Exergy ran into during the weekend.
“It was a difficult way for me to end my season with my team, however there are still a few races left for me before the end of the season.”
Among them are the Lapierre Memorial stage race going this weekend in Calgary, the Pro Tour Sprint Challenge in Quebec City next month and track cycling nationals in New Brunswick later in September, an event at which Chaddock had podium finishes in three of six omnium events en route to fourth place overall.