Miguel Martinez of France was the first to reach the summit of Mont-Megantic, making it a second win for the team Amore E Vita-McDonalds’s in Thursday’s 153-km stage of the Tour de Beauce. Yellow jersey Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Tecos Trek) crossed the line 6 seconds later to take second, and Moises Aldape (Team Type 1) was a further 2 seconds back to round off the podium. (photo TourDeBeauce.com)
“I can now die peacefully” said mountain biker and cyclocross racer extraordinaire Martinez who has 390 victories to his credit. By the age of 24, Martinez had already won an Olympic Gold Medal and was a 5-times World Champion.
More on Martinez. The 32-year old Frenchman, son of 2-time Tour de France stage winner and TdF KOM winner Mariano Martinez, tried his hand at road racing in 2002 when he joined the MAPEI team, and the following year, the Phonak team. But he never achieved the same success and went back to focus solely on mountain biking only to retire in 2006. After 8 months of retirement, Martinez came back to mountain biking and joined the Vatican-blessed Amore & Vita team at the end of last year. On note, in 2000, ex-world mountain bike champion, Jerome Chiotti revealed that he not only took EPO in order to win his World Title in Australia in 1996, but he stated that he arranged the 1999 French MTB Cross Country Championship so that Miguel Martinez would win. As far as I can tell, the latter was not corroborated.
Back to Beauce. Early into the race, Sébastien Fournet-Fayard (A-Style Stomn), who has been in a break in every stage so far, gave it another shot to form a one-man break. The one became three as riders bridged up to him and the peloton, ably controlled by the Tecos team, was happy to let get some time. But after some 50 kilometers, the trio faltered and the three became one again and then the lone rider, Fournet-Fayard, was gobbled up just before the final climb.
At the bottom of the highest paved road in Quebec, with 5 kilometers to go, the field started to break apart. taking advantage, a pair of riders went up the road and were quickly joined by 8 more which included Team Type 1, Symmetrics, Tecos riders and Martinez. Several attacks followed, but it was Martinez who had the last word.
“I wanted to save myself as much as possible for the climb”, said Martinez who proudly describes himself as a pure climber. “We sent forward a breakaway rider so as to avoid working in the back. I still believed that I could win with only 150 metres to the finish.”
Team Type 1 grabbed two jerseys today for their efforts, Aldape has the white sprinter’s jersey and the KOM jersey will now be worn by Chadwick.
After the third stage, Tepoz is still in yellow, and Martinez moved up to the second spot, 16 seconds behind. Team Type 1 has 3 riders, Aldape, Glen Chadwick and Valeriy Kobzarenko with less than one minute from the leader, with Aldape the highest place at 26 seconds back. Symmetrics’ Svein Tuft now sits at 51 seconds behind the leader.
Will the same scenario as last year be repeated? Going into the ITT, Tecos rider Ladino Vega held a 15-second lead over Navigator’s Ben Day and 19 seconds ahead of Tuft. After the 20km ITT, Day was in the leader’s jersey and Tuft was second, but Tuft did set a time faster by 29 seconds over Chadwick. It could be argued that Chadwick was racing for his teammate Ben Day who won the overall, so maybe he wasn’t going full gas. Going back to 2006, Kobzarenko set a time faster by 20 seconds over Tuft and Chadwick in a 15km ITT, and won the overall.
After tomorrow’s time trial, it is expected that the jersey will be worn by one of Chadwick, Kozbarenko or Chadwick as Tepoz is a climber not a time trialist, with Martinez playing the wildcard in this game.
So we are set for the showdown on Friday where 2 stages will be held. In the morning, the individual time trial, on an out and back 20 km course and then in late afternoon, the popular criterium in downtown Saint-Georges where the men will do 40 laps on a 1.5-km course.