With temperatures soaring to more than 30 C (86 F) and high humidity, the 23rd Edition of the Tour de Beauce was launched Tuesday with the first stage being held in Lac-Etchemin, a 167-km (103 mi) affair with 3 KOMs. The 25-year old Mexican Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Tecos) escaped from a 3-man break with 25 km (15 mi) to go and held a gap from a small group of riders charging up the final climb.
(Photo Tour de Beauce)
The Swede Micheal Stevenson (Amore e Vita – McDonald’s) took second place, stopping the clock 16 seconds later. The German Eric Baumann (Team Sparkasse) completed the top trio. (Read more in official report).
Jittery Joe’s Trent Wilson started the race with a broken hand and rolled away from peloton in the first kilometers while the field took it easy. From his teammate Neil Shirley’s journal on RoadMagazine:
With a mellow start in the field Trent was able to gain up to 5 minutes, even taking the first KOM and Sprint points. His only problem was that he couldn’t get out of the saddle due to his hand. So, once the field started racing the gap tumbled down and when we caught Trent it was single file in the gutter going 30 mph. Unfortunately for Trent there was no way he could ride at those speeds single file without creating a dangerous situation. He pulled out of the race a bit later since it just wasn’t possible for him to ride in the pack.
The Symmetrics team left immediately after the Philly race and drove about 15 hours over 2 days to make it to Beauce. The team was active in the first stage, and three riders Svein Tuft, Cam Evans and Chris Meier are at 30 seconds or less from the leader, which is exactly what the team wanted as per their blog:
So now we have 3 players in the mix — the exact ones we wanted to be in there. And another not far out of it, with Jake. That gives us a lot of strategic options coming into the next couple of days, and not a lot of responsibility to take at this point in the race. Perfect is how we are describing stage one.
The Rocky Mountain team, a first-year continental team, is racing in Beauce and also keeping a blog of their experience.
Team Type 1 teammates, 2006 winner Valeryi Kobzarenko and Tour of Arkansas winner Glen Chadwick are also in striking distance at only 27 seconds from the leader.
At 59 seconds from the leader, François Parisien (Team RACE) was disappointed at not being able to follow the rythm during the final moments of the stage. “I was feeling good and I had the legs to follow the peloton. There was a big acceleration at the end of the race and I froze, which made it that instead of finishing in the first group, I found myself in the second.”
Parisien still hopes to move up in the general classification in his bid to get selected for the Olympics. “I would like to finish in the top 5 in the general classification. Of course, I would also like to win a stage or to find myself on a podium.”>
Thirteen riders abandoned the first stage, including Eric Boily (Volkswagen) who was exhausted after a tough Coupe des Nations.
On Wednesday, the riders will face the 166-km Vallée-Jonction stage again with 3 KOMs on the line and make it more interesting, thunderstorms are in the weather forecast for the area.
Cyclingnews and Rob Jones/CanadianCyclist are on the scene and have full reports and photos.
Local media is providing good coverage (in French): VeloMag, enBeauce.com among others.
Full results: Overall Classification