Peninsula’s Erinne Willock tops pro cycling series

Olympic cyclist racing in peak form prior to World Championships

Erinne Willock won the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. The Peninsula-raised cyclist competes for Team Tibco/To the Top and won second in two of the four races and fourth in another

It’s described as one of the highest quality racing series in the world and Saanichton’s Erinne Willock has come through it ranked No. 1.

From May to July, the 29-year-old athlete pushed herself to the extreme for the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, held at various locations across the U.S.

Willock picked up enough points to earn elite status.

The series included four stage races: The Redlands Classic, SRAM Tour of the Gila, the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the Cascade Classic.

Despite missing Gila due to injury, Willock’s point tally from the other three races was enough to win.

“My strengths have always been stage races, especially the hilly ones. It was unfortunate that I was injured for Gila, but I came back with good form in the last two races,” said Willock, who represented Canada at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“I have worked closely with my coach Houshang (Amiri) from the Pacific Cycling Centre to improve my time trialling and sprinting this year and it has paid off.”

During the series she placed second in the Redlands Classic and Nature Valley and came fourth in the Cascade Classic.

Each race had about 100 cyclists from the best North American teams competing over several days. Willock was part of Team Tibco/To the Top.

Back home in Victoria Willock is instrumental in mentoring Pacific Cycling Centre athletes at their off-season training camps.

She’s been a member of the Canadian National Team since 1999.

This year has been a banner year for her with wins at the Snelling Road Race in Merced, Calif., and the Bastion Square Grand Prix in Victoria.

She’s also been named to the national team for the World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark Sept. 19-25.

Willock comes from a family of cyclists. Her dad Martin an Olympian in 1984. She grew up with a racing mentality and started competing at 14.

“I definitely learned my bike-handling skills and early tactics from him. I’ve been really lucky to have a big team of supporters, including my husband Tony, my mom and my coach. I would not be where I am today without the help from all four of those people,” she said.

“Her dedication and commitment to the sport makes her one of the top female athletes in Canada and on the world stage,” Amiri said.

Next on her agenda is a three-day Chicago race and a World Cup race leading up to the World Championships in Copenhagen.

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