The fourth Giro di Burnaby could not have been better scripted.
Two first-year entrants, Cameron MacKinnon of Calgary and 19-year-old Saskatchewan rider Julia Garnet, won their debut races in the centrepiece of B.C. Superweek on the streets of North Burnaby on July 14.
MacKinnon, riding for Team H&R Block, bested a top field of 80 riders in the men's 55-kilometre criterium in a final sprint down Hastings that resulted in an exciting photo finish.
MacKinnon, a former Pan American Games track champion, outpedalled Bailey McKnight of Team Red Truck Racing, by a wheel at the finish in a time of 72: 51 minutes.
"I didn't know if I could sprint or not," MacKinnon said after the race.
MacKinnon, who won the gold medal in the 1km time trial in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 2006, used his track savvy to edge the field.
"Definitely, I lived in White Rock and trained in Burnaby (velodrome) four times a week. That track is like my second home. Definitely Burnaby has been good to me," said MacKinnon, who is contesting his first year back on the road in seven years.
MacKinnon was part of a second six-man group of riders that successfully broke away from the pack by lap 15 and built up a 20second lead with 21 of the 30 laps completed.
But with two laps to go McKnight led a further break, along with eventual third-place finisher Justin Kerr of H&R Block, American Reid Mumford and German rider Dominik Roels, who finished well back at the finish.
But with the pack closing quickly on the leaders, MacKinnon found his opportunity and took it.
"Today would be the highlight of the season," MacKinnon said. "It's been getting better. We're looking forward to White Rock."
After a top-10 finish in the road race at the Tour de Delta on July 11, MacKinnon finished fifth in the hill climb in White Rock last weekend.
Local rider, Scott Laliberte, a former world masters track champion, raced in his fourth Giro di Burnaby, winning two race preems and finishing in 41st place.
In the 20-lap women's 37km criterium, Garnet and Local Ride Racing's Jenny Lehmann led an usual breakaway after just the fourth lap and held on to finish first and second, respectively.
Together with Lehmann, Garnet, a junior national time trial champion, built up more than a minute lead over the women's pack by the midway point and were in no danger of being caught.
Garnet then left Lehmann behind with three laps to go to finish alone in first place in a time of 54: 50.
Red Truck teammate Karlee Gendron, bronze medallist in Delta earlier in the week, came third again.
"(Lehmann and I) worked very well together and my teammates did a good job keeping it together," said Garnet after the race. "I haven't done so well, so it was nice to have a change of luck and have a good race."
The Red Truck women's team had dominted Superweek up the Giro, taking first overall after the three stages in Delta and a first and third place in the inaugural race at UBC.
"Our team has been doing really well in Superweek. It's good to keep it going," Garnet added.
The weather also cooperated after a downpour threatened the race earlier in the afternoon.
But by racetime, the 1.85-kilometre course along a stretch of Hastings and Albert streets dried out, and the sprinkles stayed away until just minutes after the final presentations were made.