Will Routley was looking forward to returning to his hometown of Whistler, not only to catch up with his family near the end of a busy racing season, but also to try his hand at the $15,000 prize for top spot in the Giro (professional) category of Saturday’s (Sept. 12) GranFondo.
“It was a big motivation for me,” said Routley, who rides for American continental Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies. “It’s not that often I get a chance to make decent prize money. Normally when on the road we split (the prize money) amongst the team. With riders and staff, you divide it by 10 to 12, whereas today (at the GranFondo), it’s all yours.”
Having won the GranFondo in 2013 — before the Giro event entered the fold with significant prize money — Will was disappointed to miss the win on Saturday by just inches in an exciting sprint finish with German rider Florenz Knauer to finish in three hours, 15 minutes, 59 seconds (3:15:59)
“From Squamish onwards (the course) is aggressive,” Routley said. “It’s hard, and I tried to attack a lot, eventually whittled down to the group of three of us around Daisy Lake. But the one guy in the whole race I didn’t want to be with near the end was (Knauer). He told me afterwards he was on a really good day. He’s a sprinter, so trying to sprint him at the finish was tough. If there were some longer sustained climbs I think I could have got away.”
Chloe Cross signed up for the Giro as her first ever sanctioned road race, crossing the line in 3:53:16 to secure eighth place among the female Giro riders, a result she was happy with.
“There were definitely a lot of new experiences for me,” said Cross after the awards on Saturday. “It was my first time starting a road race in a women’s only field. Seeing how the dynamics of a women’s peloton plays out was really exciting for me. Racing with the guys you really feel like a lot of the time you’re just hanging on and going hard the whole time. With the girls it was a mixture of sprinting like crazy to cover attacks and then soft pedalling, a lot of stop-go. That’s not a dynamic I’m used to as a mountain biker. I can definitely say I’ve never sprinted as hard in my life as I did today.”
Team Whistler Racing — which won the team division in the 2014 GranFondo — was a bit more fragmented this year due to the BC Masters Road Championship results being thrown out due to a large crash at the finish line on May 30 in the Hatzic Valley. The Giro doubled as a make up event for that championship with Team Whistler members Tony Routley, Trevor Hopkins and Dwayne Kress competing. Routley and Hopkins managed fourth and fifth place respectively in their age categories, both coming into Whistler with a time of 3:26:53.
For full results head to granfondowhistler.com.