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Kitchener cyclist captures Tour de Waterloo title

Kitchener native and 2012 Canadian Road Race champion Ryan Roth captured double gold at a pair of Cycle Waterloo events last weekend.

Ryan Roth (number 253) won the 133-kilometre Tour de Waterloo cycling race, which began in St. Jacobs and stretched across much of Woolwich and Wellesley townships June 21. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
Ryan Roth (number 253) won the 133-kilometre Tour de Waterloo cycling race, which began in St. Jacobs and stretched across much of Woolwich and Wellesley townships June 21. [Scott Barber / The Observer]
The 32-year-old Sibler Pro-Cycling team member narrowly edged by a talented field of racers at the Kitchener Twilight Grand Prix June 19.

There, Roth completed the downtown Kitchener course – the streets surrounding city hall for a total of 55 kilometres –  in one hour, thirteen minutes and one second, just a hair before Barrie’s Ed Veal and Australian Jason Lowndes.

Two days later Roth was back at it, this time at the Tour de Waterloo in St. Jacobs.

A longer, gran fondo style event, Roth conquered the 133-kilometre route in three hours, fourteen minutes and three seconds, a solid 24 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, and last year’s champion, Bruce Bird.

“It was awesome,” race organizer Brent Ellis said. “We had a great weekend and the weather turned out to be phenomenal. It stayed perfectly dry all day for the Tour de Waterloo, there was absolutely no rain on any parts of the course, which was perfect.”

More than 500 racers participated in the Tour de Waterloo, split amongst the 46-kilometre, 76-kilometre and the 133-kilometre courses.

For the second straight year, the routes all spanned across Woolwich and Wellesley townships.

The 133-kilometre main event headed northwest through Wallenstein and around Conestogo Lake, followed by a long stretch across Country Road 121. Next, riders turned left onto Line 61, right onto Township Road 20 and left on Deborah Glaister Line, before wrapping around Wellesley Village and travelling east on Weimer and Lobsinger Lines. The homestretch included a stint on Three Bridges Road before the final sprint along Henry Street.

The middle distance race began in the same direction, however racers made a left on Herrgott Road instead of right, cutting the Conestogo Lake portion from the course and shortening the route down to 76-kilometres.

Finally, the 46-kilometre race also travelled to the northwest, stretching from Hemlock Hill Drive in the north, Greenwood Hill Road to the west and Weimer Line at its southernmost point.

Organizers have set up three categories to make the event accessible to a variety of skill and experience levels.

The long course features some of the best road racers in the country, and is truly designed for elite cyclists.

But the shorter routes offer up challenging, competitive races as well.

“What we really like to see is the people who ride the 46-kilometre event, hopefully they’ll come back the following year and bump up to the 76-kilometre event,” co-organizer Malcolm Steven said.

They work hard to put together a great experience for riders, from road safety through lead vehicles and paid duty officers and a great meal at the race banquet following the races.

“From our perspective, these races certainly draw in that cycling tourism component to the St. Jacobs area,” Steven said. “A lot of people will come in for the weekend to get there race guides, check out the courses and do some shopping. From our numbers, pretty close to 70 per cent of the people taking part in the race are from out of town, and we hope that they’ll come back again, too and bring their families.”

The Tour de Waterloo registration fees also raised some $18,000 for the Grand River Hospital Foundation and Kitchener Waterloo Counseling Services, with more donations still coming in from private donation pages. Launched in 2010, the event has raised more than $100,000 for charity to date.

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