Ontario Summer End Grand Prix
It was a typical hot August afternoon for the Summer’s End Criterium in Ontario. Over 100 Pro 1/2/3 riders lined up at the start. The attacks started at the opening gun and continued for twenty minutes until a group of six got away. Gabe Varela (Acqua al 2/SDBC) was the last to bridge into the group as it sped away. Along with Gabe, the lead group included Jamie Paolinetti (Amgen), Chris DeMarchi (Amgen), Michael Johnson (Amgen), Sergio Hernandez (Jelly Belly Pro) and Albert Gonzales (unattached). Paolinetti and DeMarchi are both current national champions. It was clear that one of these six riders would win the race.
The pack, led by the several teams who missed the break, chased for thirty minutes. They never would catch the leaders. As the chase died down a second group, including rider Chris Bennett (Acqua al 2/SDBC) , attacked and got away. A few minutes later a third group escaped with Scott Hammack (Acqual al 2/SDBC). Meanwhile, the lead group of six were gaining time on the pack.
With one lap to go in the75 minute race Varela attacked the leading six but took with him Paolinetti. With two other Amgen riders in the break, Paolinetti could sit on Varela’s wheel . Gabe pulled for a half of a mile before he encountered the remains of the pack. Aaron Quesnell (Aqua al 2/SDBC) waited in the back of the pack, picked up Varela and lead him out for the remaining half mile of the race. In the final sprint Jamie went early, but Gabe was on his wheel and out sprinted him in the final 50 meters for the win! Bennett finished in 10th and Hammack crossed the line in 15th. This was Gabe’s first win this year and his first win as a Cat-1 rider.