Prior to the men’s time trial race at the Canadian Championships, few knew among the cycling ranks who Curtis Dearden was. Few knew about his potential for a victory among some of Canada’s biggest names.
On Thursday afternoon, now everyone knows, as he topped the podium of the Men Elite race at the Canadian Championships in St-Georges, QC.
Dearden, who represents Russ Hay’s/Accent Inns cycling team, crossed the finish line with a time of 48:24, showing a strong lead of 13 seconds over WorldTour rider Christian Meier, who was also second last year at the Canadian Championships and third in the General Classification last week at the Tour de Beauce with Team Canada.
Dearden, hailing from Victoria, British Columbia, was racing some local and regional races prior to today’s race. Dearden was facing today many riders from the UCI Worldtour, and the UCI Pro-Continental tour, such as Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEDGE), Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale), Zach Bell (Champions System Pro Cycling), Ryan Roth (Champions System Pro Cycling), Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda Riders) and many more.
“This is by far my career biggest win,” said Dearden, who won the time trial at the recent Provincial Championships in British Columbia. “I trained specifically for this race today. It was goal-oriented training. I didn’t have to train for some big 200 kilometre races. It allowed me to focus on one-hour efforts, and I think that gave me the legs.”
Dearden, 29, raced at the Canadian Championships once in the past, finished over five minutes back of the winning time. “I have been staying at home since then, laying low back in Victoria, and doing some local races. I saw the profile online and I thought it wasn’t too steep, but when I rode, it felt a little steeper. When I started riding the course today I felt really good. I knew I was climbing well, at the pace I needed. It was a good feeling and I was making time. That’s all I can ask for,” said the polite, calm rider after a small photo session with his new-born baby and wife following the award ceremonies.
Dearden, a recent father of four-month old Ellie, is married to a former competitive cyclist Amy Dearden who previously represented Canada at a development project in the spring of 2010, has been riding in the Vancouver and Victoria regions this season, including a few stages races.
But nothing to the scope of a field filled with international riders. “I felt myself slipping in the “Oh no, look at all these fancy jerseys and big teams’ mentality, but every time I just had to tell myself it didn’t matter. It’s a time trial: how everybody else rides doesn’t matter, it’s what you do yourself. I just ran my own race. It made for a very stressful half-hour after my race was completed, in the parking lot, waiting for everybody else to complete the course.”
In addition to his cycling career, Dearden rowed at the collegiate level with the University of British Columbia. In 2003 and 2005, he won the Canadian University Rowing Championships.
As for the rest of the season, Dearden doesn’t know what this result will mean, whether he will be asked to race some bigger races: “I haven’t thought about anything past today. I thought I’d be racing some more local stuff at home. But now, I don’t know. I really don’t know. I had never even thought about tomorrow.”
Alex Cataford, of Ottawa, who has excelled on the track in the past season and focused his energies on the road this season with Garneau-Quebecor Cycling Team, came third, and topped the U23 standings. Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager Cycling Team), who was second at the Quebec City stage of the Tour de Beauce last week, came in second, while Matteo Dalcin (Team Ontario) took the third spot among the U23 riders in the field.
RESULTS – time trial – CANADIAN ROAD CYCLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
1. DEARDEN, Curtis (Russ Hay’s / Accent Inns) 48:24
2. MEIER, Christian (Orica-GreenEDGE) 0:48:37 +0:13
3. CATAFORD, Alexander (Équipe cycliste Garneau-Quebecor) 49:22 +0:58
4. BELL, Zachary (Champion System Pro Cycling 0:49:29 +1:05
5. HOULE, Hugo (AG2R la Mondiale) 49:44 +1:20
6. FILLION, Aaron 49:54 +1:30
7. DUCHESNE, Antoine 50:08 +1:44
8. DAL-CIN, Matteo (Team Ontario) 50:31 +2:07
9. ROTH, Ryan (Champion System Pro Cycling) 50:36 +2:12
10. DE VOS, Adam (Trek Red Truck Racing Team) 50:59 +2:35
1. CATAFORD, Alexander (Équipe cycliste Garneau-Quebecor) 49:22
2. DUCHESNE, Antoine 50:08
3. DAL-CIN, Matteo (Team Ontario) 50:31