Whistler's Will Routley stayed in B.C. last weekend, and elected to compete in the Tour de White Rock against some of the top riders in Canada - notably former Symmetrics teammates Svein Tuft and Christian Meier.
Once again Routley found himself riding solo without any team support from his pro club, Team Jelly Belly presented by Kenda.
Routley started the weekend off with a win in the prologue, a tough hill climb up one of White Rocks steep roads - 700 metres up a 16 per cent grade. What's more, riders had to make the ascent twice, with the top five heading back down to face off once again.
Routley edged out Andrew Pinfold, another former Symmetrics teammate, to take the win.
"As far as prologues go, that's 10 times harder than anything else," Routley told Canadian Cyclist. "It's terrible. It's just the right length that you can go hard all the way to the top and you kind of blow up right at the line. I don't think I felt that loaded with lactate at any other time, and then to go down there and have to do it all over again. It is just punishment."
Routley had a bad day in the criterium the following day, which cost him a shot at the omnium win, but was back on form for the 134 km road race that wrapped up the tour.
Svein Tuft got the win on that stage with the help of Meier, his teammate on the Garmin-Transitions Pro Tour squad.
Tuft sat back with the peleton while Meier took care of a breakaway by Routley and Ryan Anderson. Tuft then bridged his way back to the lead group to make it a foursome. They dropped Anderson soon afterwards, then Meier put Tuft in a position to sprint away on the final lap while Routley battled some cramping.
Routley, the national road champion, hung onto second place, about 50 seconds back of Tuft and 50 seconds ahead of Meier.
"I towed him around for all I could but I started cramping," said Routley of Tuft.
Tuft said it was one of the fastest Tours de White Rock that he has ever done, and that the final road race is the hardest he knows of in the 130-km distance range. He also credited Routley for being the strongest rider in the race, with no teammates to support him on the breaks.
Routley's future includes some more races with his pro team, and likely a spot representing Canada at the Commonwealth Games - a stepping stone that could put Routley in contention for a spot on the national team at the 2012 Summer Games in London.