Tara Whitten of the Atlantic Cycling Center team took home the top honours during Mondays individual time trials on the Confederation Bridge stage of the Tour de P.E.I. Whitten also took home the jerseys for the day including yellow for tour leader. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
BORDEN-CARLETON - Canadian cyclist Tara Whitten stole the show Monday morning during the second stage of the Tour de P.E.I.
Whitten walked away with all of the award jerseys from the individual time trial, which spanned 12.9 kilometres and ran from the New Brunswick side of the Confederation Bridge to just inside Gateway Village in Borden-Carlton.
Whitten was all smiles as she descended from the podium yesterday. This is her first time on P.E.I. and she's happy she had the chance to race across something like the Confederation Bridge, she said.
"It was such an experience. . . the bridge is such an amazing structure, just to cross it was pretty cool," she said.
Whitten, who rides with the Atlantic Cycling Center team, had the best time of the day with a finish of 19:45. The Edmonton, Alta., native bested second-place finisher and Australian National Team member Bridie O'Donnell by the narrowest of margins of 00:01. Whitten's teammate Moriah Jo MacGregor finished third with a time of 20:23.
In addition to taking top place, Whitten received the jerseys for tour leader, top Canadian, stage winner and the sprinter's jersey.
She couldn't help but smile as she walked away with so many extra pieces of gear.
"I was thinking maybe they thought it was cold and I needed more clothing or something," she laughed.
Though her good fortune surprised even herself, Whitten was still expecting to place high in the standings. Speed is no stranger to her, as her background is in pursuit cycling, and despite the fact a pursuit course is shorter than the bridge, she was still expecting to place high.
"This is the stage I was really focusing on and hoping to do well on," she said.
Whitten credits favourable winds during her run as a contributing factor to her win. She also expressed relief that the forces of nature were not as strong as riders encountered last year.
"There was so many stories about last year when it was a lot windier with more of a head wind, so I kind of mentally prepared for it to be a bit tougher," Whitten said. "But, in the end, the wind was not that strong."
The Tour de P.E.I. continues today with riders starting in Kensington at 11 a.m., and finishing in North Rustico at 3 p.m.