Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) was crown champion of the Tour de Beauce. The 31-year old Canadian has finished second twice and finally realized his dream of winning the toughest stage race in Canada and maybe North America.
“‘I participated in my first Tour de Beauce in 2001, and since then, I’ve won a few stages. That said, I always thought it would be great to win the Tour. For us Canadians, it’s even more wonderful. It’s our first win in a European-style race, and it’s opened our eyes and made us realize what a true race is really like.” Tuft said.
At the start of the sixth and final stage, Tuft only had a six seconds lead over second place Bernardo Colex Tepoz (Tecos Trek) and 46 and 49 seconds over the dangerous Team Type 1 duo of Moises Aldape and Valeriy Kobzarenko. The S-Team was ready for all attacks.
The clouds parted and the rain stopped when the riders for the 125 km stage, 9 laps of a 12.5 km downtown loop. A few attacks were tried but nothing went until the fourth lap, when 8 riders managed to escape the peloton. The breakaway group included the Team Type 1 duo of Matt Wilson and Chris Jones, Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe’s) and Philipp Mamos (Sparkasse) . With no threat to the general classification, Tuft and his boys were happy to let the break go up the road and they were never seen again.
Jones launched solo out of the break in the second to last climb, and as soon the break chased him down, his teammate Wilson went and made it across the line first for his first victory in North America. Mamos was second and Shriver finished third.
Over two minutes later, Tuft and Colex crossed the finish line at the same time, with Colex acknowledging his rival’s victory with a smile and a pat on the back.
“It was an unbelievable race. I can never say it enough, but I believe that the guys don’t realize how important it is that each teammate believes in the goal that we make. Nothing can work unless that’s done. They raced in an unbelievable fashion, each of them giving all they had. And in the end, they let me do what I had to. I could have never hoped for more!” said Tuft about his team.
Colex finished in second place in the overall classification and Aldape was third.
Team Type 1 also had a good race. Glen Chadwick won the King of the Mountains and Moises Aldape claimed the sprint jersey, and Team Type 1 also won the team classification.
Johann Rabie (South African U23) won the Best Young Rider jersey.
With this win coupled with his 4 gold medals at the recent Pan American Cycling Championships in Montevideo Uruguay, Tuft should be shoe in to be selected for the Olympic Games. The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) will announce the final road selections for the Beijing Olympics on Thursday June 19th, 2008.
“Winning certainly doesn’t hurt my chances in the selection process. But the decision is up to the selection committee. I came here to do my best, and ideally win. That’s what I concentrated on. I ignored the rest.” admitted three-time Canadian Time Trial Champion Tuft.