August 25, 2016

How Leah Kirchmann is Changing Women’s Cycling

Winnipeg, Canada is a long way from Paris. 6,622 kilometers to be exact.  Anyone making the trip is most likely to have an agenda that takes in the top sites of France’s City of Lights.  Perhaps not on the agenda, but certainly something that would peak curiosity, would be to stand in the middle of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, with your back to the Arc de Triomphe.  And while to tourists this sounds like a completely odd, if not impossible, thing to do, to cyclists around the world this describes one thing- the podium on the final day of the Tour de France.  And this is exactly where 24-year old Winnipeg native Leah Kirchmann found herself spending the afternoon hour of an exhilarating day last July.  The Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies (now with Team Liv-Plantur) sprinter had just finished third in the inaugural La Course by Le Tour, a wild, fast pace, bone rattling, teeth jarring 89 kilometer circuit race on the Champs- Élysées a few hours ahead of the arrival of the men’s peloton for the final stage of the Tour de France.  With winner, then world champion Marianne Vos, and the runner up, Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild, sharing the podium, it was perhaps Kirchmann that generated the most surprise from outsiders at her top finish.  But a closer look at this rising Canadian star reveals she’s been preparing for this spotlight all along.  Read More



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