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Sports Briefs: Routley fifth in first stage of Coppi e Bartali

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Whistler's Will Routley has been an outstanding addition to the Team Spidertech, presented by C10, Canada's foremost road cycling team, the only team based in Canada with UCI Continental Cup status. In addition to top results in North America, he has been establishing himself as a top rider in European races with a second place finish at the Tro Blo Leon in 2011 and, earlier this season, a third-place finish in the opening stage of the Veulta a Andalucia.

On Tuesday, Routley placed fifth in the first stage of the Coppi e Bartali in Italy, a 140km race from Misano Adriatico to Riccione.

Routley stuck with the large breakaway group from early in the race, which held together more or less through the final sprint. With a time of three hours, 16 minutes and 31 seconds, he averaged over 42km/h from start to finish.

Whistler riders on the road in Escape Velocity Spring Series

It's difficult to imagine cycling at this time of year when every day brings more snow to the Whistler area, but a few local cyclists have been making the trip to the Lower Mainland recently to race in the Escape Velocity Spring Series road events.

It hasn't been fun necessarily. Trevor Hopkins called the race this past weekend "some of the worst Spring Series road race conditions I've ever raced in with snow, pissing rain, wind and temperatures running between zero and plus-three. Surprisingly there was still a huge turnout of die-hard racers that came out like it was a warm, sunny day."

Saturday's race, number three on the calendar, took place in Bradner with rain from start to finish. Hopkins stuck with the peleton through the last lap, when they managed to reel in two of the four riders that broke early in the race. He was ninth overall after the sprint.

Sunday's race was on the Atomic race course in West Abbotsford. The temperature dropped to zero and it was snowing at the start, prompting the organizers to chop off a lap and reduce the distance from 100km to 80km. Hopkins finished his day in sixth in B Grade, unable to bridge up to the lead group this time. Jean-Phillipe Boulais raced in C Grade for Team Whistler but was forced to drop out because of the conditions.

Hopkins also raced the previous week on Mar. 11 in Aldergrove, in more bad weather. Hopkins finished 12th in B Grade and Boulais finished mid-pack in C.

This weekend a larger Team Whistler group will head to the SpringSeries Stage race, which features a time trial and criterium on Saturday and a road race on Sunday.

Showcase Showdown details coming

The 15th annual Showcase Showdown snowboard competition is set to take place on Saturday, Mar. 31 at the base of Whistler Mountain. The event will have an urban skateboard theme. Spectators are welcome.

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