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Maple Ridge cyclist wins pro race in Arkansas

Coles-Lyster at her best after recovering from crash, concussion
Maggie Coles-Lyster with a fist pump after winning the pro women’s class at the Fayetteville Criterium. (Adam Koble/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge’s Maggie Coles-Lyster got one of the biggest wins of her cycling career last weekend in Arkansas.

In addition to racing with the Canadian team, Coles-Lyster is a pro based out of Salt Lake City, racing with the DNA Pro Cycling team.

They entered the Joe Martin Stage Race, which is a four-day, four-stage men’s and women’s cycling race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. It is a huge event, with more than 750 athletes from 27 countries.

Coles-Lyster had modest expectations. She had crashed earlier, at the Tour of the Gila race in New Mexico, and hit her head. She withdrew from the race, suffering from concussion symptoms.

“I know better than to mess with a head injury,” she said.

So she rested until she was symptom free, then had a gradual return – slowly building her training back up to a world-class level.

So, Coles-Lyster hadn’t been pushing it – and wasn’t anticipating turning in a great performance last weekend.

“I was thinking that I was in more of a supportive role for my teammates,” she said.

But in the Fayetteville Criterium, racing along downtown streets, she was on top of her game. She was riding beside her nemesis. After about 55 minutes of racing, they were crossing the line at virtually the same time.

“It came down to a finishing sprint,” she said.

And despite being off with the injury, the Maple Ridge athlete had the legs to push for the win. It was the highest-level pro race Coles-Lyster has won in North America. She edged out Skylar Schneider of L39ion of Los Angeles at the line.

“To win at that level was super exciting for me,” she said.

“I guess I was just fresh – maybe I needed that rest.”

Coles-Lyster has other big wins on her resume, since she became Canada’s first-ever junior world champion in track cycling in 2017. Last year, in the UCI Track Cycling Champions League in Mallorca, Spain, she won the first race in the women’s scratch event.

“I think I have a lot of confidence going into this year,” she said. “I know I can medal.”

The DNA team is a UCI international team, and do some racing in Europe. But they support their U.S.-based sponsors and grow the sport in North America by racing across America.

The DNA team has a lot of cycling coming up, with June events taking the women to Arlington, VA.; Tulsa, OK.; Harlem NY.; and Knoxville, TN.

Coles-Lyster will be competing for Team Canada this summer, including at the Commonwealth Games in the UK from July 28 to Aug. 8.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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