Ryan, Stewart carve out wins at Giro di Burnaby

Four days down, three podium spots.

Californian cyclist Kendall Ryan has made the most of her short time in the Lower Mainland.

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For the second day in a row, Ryan emerged as the champion, topping the pro women's division of the Giro di Burnaby and adding it to earlier wins at the Tour de Delta and the Gastown Grand Prix.

Not shabby for the first six days of an eight-day stop.

A day after successfully holding off the pack for the win in Gastown, the 26-year-old Ryan utilized some stellar support from her fellow TIBCO-Siliicon Valley Bank teammates to sprint to the finish on the 40-lap, 45.6-kilometre course in the heart of Burnaby Heights.

By edging fellow Californian Holly Breck over the final 60m, Ryan, who finished third last year, earned herself a cool $2,600 prize purse.

"I chased down two last minute attacks on the last lap, held those gals pretty quickly and just launched my own sprint after closing those gaps," Ryan told the NOW. "It was really hard and I had my work cut out for me."

Quebecer Ariane Bonhomme finished a close third in a field that was reduced nearly in half by attrition.

Ryan, who helped teammate Alison Jackson capture the New West Grand Prix and the Tour de Delta road race earlier in the week, credited her teammates for creating her winning window. Considering that Ryan and Jackson have combined to finish first in all five races they've contested on the 2019 B.C. Superweek circuit so far -- and Jackson did not race Thursday -- that appears to be proof enough.

And of note, she said, was the absence of a formidable rival, the Hagens-Berman team that posted a pair of thirds and a second over the past three events, who didn't enter the Giro.

"We knew we didn't have to battle Hagens-Berman (team), but we had to battle all the other teams and I think they saw a lot of opportunities for breakaways at the rims," Ryan said of her teammates. "We only had three of us to cover moves, which makes it pretty demanding for all of us to share the work. It was a hard-fought win for sure.

"I owe it to my teammates for sure."

Also missing from the race was Maple Ridge's Maggie Coles-Lyster, the top local rider who in back-to-back days had placed second and third in the New West and Gastown Grand Prix events.

It was all in a day's work for the 2015 U.S. national road racing champion. For someone who's been serious about cycling since the age of six, the spotlight and celebratory champagne were just perks of the job she loves.

"(I started) when i was six years old -- started in BMX and then track racing, road racing, cyclocross, mountain bike," Ryan said with a grin. "All the genres of cycling. I was pretty much born on the bike and my whole family races and rides. It's definitely a family adventure."

On the men's side, New Zealander Campbell Stewart returned to the top step at the Giro di Burnaby after a one-year absence.

He held off charges from German Marcel Franz and American Samuel Bassetti, after emerging from a thick pack just exiting the turn at Macdonald Avenue onto Hastings for the final stretch.

"We had a few cards out there to play," 21-year-old Stewart said of his team. "We knew it could be a breakaway so I did try to push for that. A few of the guys went for sprints trying to get some of the preems (in the previous laps) and I think my teammates worked really well to get me up front in the end when I decided to freelance for a while and find a few other wheels.

"Some of the other guys on other teams were looking pretty strong so I was able to piggyback off that and get in for the win. It was an awesome day."

He also held off three-time New West Grand Prix champion Florenz Knauer, who two days ago came from behind to edge the Team New Zealand rider. Knauer positioned himself for a late surge but finished just short of the Burnaby podium.

On Wednesday, it was Stewart's chance to support his teammate, with Regan Gough capturing the Gastown Grand Prix title.

The New Zealand squad is enjoying their sojourn from the southern hemisphere winter, that's for sure.

"I've been here overseas for a while now trying to escape the New Zealand winter. The racing over here provies with an awesome opportunity for us. The weather hasn't been as warm as we'd hope for its still better than home

"I personally think the level of racing has come a long way," added Stewart. "I think we've lifted up a little, we've got a strong team again and they've been really able to make it work. ... Obviously, i'm not the only one who'se been up on the podium. They're riding all sorts of ways."

 

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