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By Ian Dille, VeloNews correspondent
The Bermuda Grand Prix kicked off Thursday evening in downtown Hamilton. Cruise ships sat stoically near the start-finish as racers sped down the main strip and tourists cheered from the balconies of bars and restaurants lining the course. While the island has a distinctly laid-back vibe, the race did not. With a steep climb, a 180-degree turn, and thousands of dollars in primes on the line, the course took a toll on both the men and women’s fields.
In the 30-minute elite women’s race, Webcor, Quark, Genesis and Rona all took turns attacking the front, eventually splitting the field into a select group of about 25 riders. The prime bell was buzzing like a high school fire alarm as Laura Van Gilder of Genesis took three sprints in a row to net almost $2000. Not bad for a race she described as a “vacation.”
With three laps to go Genesis took control of the front in hopes of setting up Van Gilder for the win. But it was Webcor’s Karen Brems who swooped in on the train through the final corner and jumped early to take the downhill, tailwind finish by a couple bike lengths. Brems, a former world time trial champion who also serves as the team’s manager, made a late-season comeback specifically for the Grand Prix. “Hey, if you gotta race, why not do it in Bermuda?” she said.
In the men’s race, former Saturn star Harm Jansen broke away with Subway’s Cameron Hughes about halfway into the 45-minute race. The two riders snatched up the majority of the primes and Jansen, who now riders for California-based Helen’s Cycles, took the win. Jonathan Erdelyi took the field sprint for third.
This is Jansen’s third trip to Bermuda, but now retired from full-time racing, he’s taking the event a bit more seriously. “In the past I used to come here tired after long season,” he said. “I probably had more alcohol in my blood than blood in my veins.”
Racing continues through the weekend with a 700-meter time trial on Friday in the town of St. Georges.
1. Karen Brems, Webcor/Cheerios;
2. Christina De Kraay, Sportsbook/Logic Communications;
3. Kori Seehafer, Genesis/CD&P;
4. Gina Grain, Victory Brewing/XL Capitol;
5. Jennifer Eyerman, Red 5/Fairmont Hotels;
6. Katrina Grove, Rona/Fairmont Hotels;
7. Felicia Greer, Webcor/Cheerios;
8. Melissa Sanborn, Wenzel Coaching Bacardi;
9. Candice Blickem, Genesis/CD&P;
10. Lauren Franges, Victory Brewing/XL Capitol;
1. Harm Jansen, Helen’s Cycles;
2. Cameron Hughes, Subway Express;
3. Jonathan Erdelyi, Winner’s Edge;
4. Ian Holt, Holt/Powerade;
5. Bruno Laglois, VW-Trek Canada/Dept. YSR;
6. Ross Muir, Holt/Powerade;
7. Jake Stephens, Team Snow Valley/Intelsat;
8. Amos Brumble, Hot Tubes/Fast Forward Freight;
9. Marco Ainsalu, VC Pontivy/CD&P;
10. Andy Roche, Spence/Powerbar