Live Blog Coverage of the Ottawa Inline Festival
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June 5, 2011
4:15 pm | Recap: Il Peloton had the winning formula today: a powerful skater, a strong team and an aggressive strategy.
The result was a return to form for team leader Sergio Almeralla, who won the event in 2009 but had to settle for second last year behind Toronto Inline's Peter Doucet.
Led by Almeralla, the Il Peloton team attacked relentlessly throughout the race.
"First one guy would go on a breakaway," says Almeralla, 34 of Ottawa. "Then when the chase group would catch him, I would go out."
With a strong team that included Jade Pauley and short-track ice skater Steve Robillard, the strategy was unbeatable. Even bad luck couldn't derail the team.
With about 18 km to go, Almeralla — out on another breakaway — fell.
"He was in front of us and he stopped skating to catch his breath and he fell," says Taz Vitesse's Simon Clement.
The fall opened up two holes on the back of his skinsuit and left him bloody. But he got up as the chase pack rolled by him and caught up.
"Then he took about five minutes and recovered before he took off again," says Team Hoigaard's Herb Gayle.
He took off for good with about 10 km left in the race. "And no one would attempt to catch him," said Peter Doucet.
Almeralla, who won the event two years ago, said he knew it was a gamble to breakaway with 10K left to go. "But I never looked back. I just focused on my technique and kept going."
"Sergio was a machine," says Gayle.
After Almeralla took off, the race came down to a battle for second place.
Doucet, who won the event last year, tried to get away. But couldn't.
"Every time someone tried to get into position for second place, everybody wanted to catch him," Doucet says.
Doucet started the field sprint and held the lead until just before the finish line when he was passed by teammate Jesse Pauley, Taz Vitesse's Juan Diego Luluaga and Schankel-Kallisto’s Morgan Williams.
Pauley finished second, and in one of the most remarkable performances of the day, Luluaga, 12 years old and skating in his first inline marathon, finished third.
"It was the first time he skated 42K and he did very well," said he father, Jose Luiz Munera, a Colombian skate coach who recently moved to Canada.
Video of the Field Sprint
This year's marathon was nothing like last year's, says the women's winner, Taz Vitesse's Martine Charbonneau.
"There was much more action with people trying to escape and all these new young skaters," says Charbonneau, a 33-year-old graphic designer from Montreal.
As usual, Charbonneau hung with the lead men's pack throughout the race, keeping an eye on her main rival in the race, Toronto Inline's Morgane Echardour.
With 1 km left to go in the race, she could see Echardour moving up in the men's pack. So she did the same.
"I tried to get closer to the front," Charbonneau says. "Then I got behind a guy who I thought would have a good sprint.
When the sprint came, "I was able to get the quick legs and finish in front of Morgane."
Charbonneau, who also won the event last year, finished with a time of 1 hour, 11 minutes and 39 seconds, just a second behind the first man in the field sprint.
Echardour finished one second later.
3:21 pm | Video of Almeralla finishing
3 pm | Sergio Almeralla and Martine Charbonneau win: Il Peloton's Sergio Almeralla wins the men's race. Toronto Inline's Jesse Pauley and Taz Vitesse's Juan Luluaga finish in a tie for second place. Then it's Schankel-Kallisto’s Morgan Williams and Toronto Inline's Peter Doucet.
Taz Vitesse's Martine Charbonneau wins the women's race. Toronto Inline's Morgane Echardour is second; Shannon Hegarty, third.
2:34 pm | Video of the First Turnaround
2:04 pm | First lap: Jade Pauley leads the big pack of about 30 skaters around the turnaround at the end of the first lap.
"He is skating very comfortably, not straining," says Brigitte Beaudry. "This could be his day."
VRL Le Club's Stephane Charron, who won yesterday's 10K, is right behind Pauley. Jerome Comptois-Urbain is next.
The pace is relaxed, but picking up. Now's the time for Sergio Almeralla and his Il Peloton teammates to start shooting off on breakaways.
The two top women, Taz Vitesse's Martine Charbonneau and Toronto Inline's Morgane Echardour, are tucked away in the lead pack.
2 pm | Video of the start
1:35 pm | Start: The horn sounds and they're off for the start of the Ottawa inline marathon and half marathon.
The full and half marathons start at the same time but from different spots on the Rockcliffe Parkway.
The full marathon gets off to a nice, clean start, says Nathalie Larouche. It is a slow start, cautious start. No one falls.
The skaters will roll 7 km east along the Ottawa River and then turn around and come back and repeat the loop three times.
1:01 pm | Conditions: The weather gods are smiling. A few days ago, forecasters were predicting rain for Sunday. But with a half an hour to go before the start of the marathon, conditions are near perfect: 68 degrees and partly cloudy with only a light breeze.
"It's sunny and not too windy, so people are happy," says Nathalie Larouche, who is at the Rockcliffe Parkway racecourse and will be providing race updates. Larouche and her husband, Philippe Candelier, are the organizers of the Marathon Roller Montreal, July 16 in Montreal.