Svein Tuft, of Spidertech p/b C10, delivered another great cycling performance on the European cycling tour, winning the 2011 Grand Prix Stad Zottegem in Belgium, a one-day professional cycling race in its 76th year of existence.
In doing so, Tuft writes a new chapter in Canadian cycling history, becoming the first Canadian to win a professional cycling road race in Europe while wearing the National Champion jersey. Tuft won twice last year in time trials races.
Riders from Team SpiderTech strategically took part in every break of the race, and allowed Tuft to join a breakaway with approximately 33 kilometres left in this 181.7-kilometer race.
The break was eventually brought back with nine other riders for about nine kilometers. With 18 kilometers to go, Tuft launched a powerful attack and rode solo for the remainder of the race to take the win, showing a 36-second gap over the second place of Willem Vauteurs of World Tour team Vacansoleil-DCM.
“The boys rode a perfect race today. Everybody is starting to feel the form of those hard climbing French stage races. Early on we had Will [Routley], Zach [Bell] and myself in the break — and I knew it was going to be a good day. The pressure was on right from the gun and I knew we had all our bases covered with strong guys in the break and with Martin and Guillaume sitting in the group behind,” said Tuft, winner of both the road race and time trials at the 2011 Road Canadian Championships.
“As the day wore on, I could see the riders starting to feel the fatigue and I knew it was time to go in the headwind section about 12k out. I knew once I had 30 seconds, I would be able to break the chase group. There were some technical sections that really suited me late in the race. I knew if I could get to the technical section, I could get out of sight and gain time,” continued Tuft. “It was a very satisfying win and I’m really proud of the guys. We will be looking for another one tomorrow at Overjise.”
Directeur sportif Kevin Field had great things to say about the teamwork from the riders on Team SpiderTech: “The boys rode amazing today. Gripped it and ripped it. We had numbers in every move today. What an historic performance for Canadian cycling today.”