Will Coleman bested David Jackson by a little over six minutes to take the Tour of Juneau expert crown on Saturday.
Only 6 inches separated the leaders as they rode into the Auke Recreational Area finish line of the last of four stages, the End of Road Race, a 57-mile ride from the ferry terminal to the end of Glacier Highway and back, nearly causing a collision with a pedestrian as they zoomed past the finish.
“That was probably the most fun I’ve had in a sprint in a long time,” Coleman, who won by a hair, said after the race. “I thought he got me — it was so close.”
Here was the exhilarating (and scary) finish between Will Coleman, of Juneau, and David Jackson, of Victoria, B.C., in the 57-mile End of the Road race today at Auke Rec. This was the fourth and last stage of the Tour of Juneau, which was won by Coleman. pic.twitter.com/WhaOQKO8jN
— Empire Sports (@akempiresports) August 19, 2018
Coleman, 30, and Jackson, 21, were two of five cyclists who completed all four stages of the Tour of Juneau, which began Friday with a 2-mile prologue from Mendenhall River Community School to the Juneau Gun Club. The stages (legs) only got longer from there. Saturday began with a 4.5-mile Eaglecrest Road hill climb and continued in the afternoon with a 10-mile time trial between the Shrine of St. Therese and Eagle Beach.
Hiram Henry, Jim Ustasiewski and David Robinson also went the distance, riding in all four stages. Three others, Justin Dorn, Daren Booton and Jennifer Watson, completed three of the four.
Coleman, who finished with an overall time of 3 hours, 23 minutes, 13 seconds, said he was hoping to set course records but wasn’t quite able to do it.
“I did the Eaglecrest Hill Climb earlier this year in 16:34 and I was hoping to match that during the race this year but I didn’t quite have the juice to do it that day,” Coleman said. “I still managed to post the fastest time on that climb in a couple of years.”
Coleman entered Sunday with a five-minute edge on the rest of the competition. But only 45 seconds separated Ustasiewski from Jackson. Jackson would be able to make up that difference and some on the last leg. Almost immediately after the start of Sunday’s race, one of Ustasiewski’s tires went flat and it took about 15 minutes for him to change out his wheel with a spare.
“It would’ve been fun to race all the way with those guys and see what happens,” Ustasiewski said.
Henry, who came in third overall in the final standings, said he was just happy to be done.
“I really liked the time trials, because they’re short and sweet,” he said. “After each race, I was progressively getting more licked, my legs got heavier and heavier. So I guess it’s good that they had the long race at the end. Probably something to be said about pacing myself. I think I put a little too much effort out in the first events.”
Close finishes were a recurring theme at this year’s tour. There was at least one tie in every race but one, the Eaglecrest Hill Climb. It seemed Coleman, who won the second and third stages by over 90 seconds, was the only one immune to a tie. That is, until the last stage.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.