August 10/06 5:58 am - Reports from Tour de l'Ain
Posted by Editor on 08/10/06
Tour de l'Ain Reports
Translated by Amanda Leigh Cox
François Parisien, Tired but in 'The Best Shape ever !'
Montreal, August 7 2006 - Canadian François Parisien (TIAA-CREF) took 43rd place in Stage Two of the Tour de l'Ain currently taking place in France. The 147,5 K road race between Pont d'Ain and Peronnas was won by Ukranian-born Belgian resident Igor Abrakoumov (Jartazi).
Stage Two was considered a relatively easy stage as compared with Stage One's multiple hills. The race route's undulating countryside as nonetheless rendered more difficult due to the present of heavy winds. The wind however, didn't prevent cyclists from maintaining an average of 47 K / hour during the first hour of the race.
After 30 K, three of the 98 riders decided to test their luck in a break-away; their advance from the pelton wavered between 1 minute and 2 minutes 30 seconds before being swallowed up by the pack with 3 K to the finish line; led by powerhouse teams AG2R (whose rider Cyril Dessel currently hold the leader's jersey) and La Française des Jeux. At the same time as the break-away was caught a scramble in the pack resulted in a fall, which saw Abrakoumov sprint away from the pack to take the win. Parisien finished in 43rd place with the pack.
'The pack was much more nervous today. The pack would speed up and slow down; there were some fairly drastic movements. So in terms of technical riding, it was a much more difficult race to ride.'
The 2005 Canadian Road Champion also admitted to not being a fan of massive pack sprints, 'These huge pack sprints aren't really my specialty. Yesterday I was in a small pack of 25 riders ; in a group like that I feel I can better perform and have a good sprint.'
Parisien occupies the 29th place in the General Classement, with a time delay of 1 minute 33 seconds from leader Cyril Dessel (AG2R).
Clearly exhausted from his performance in yesterday's arduous stage, Parisien is unsure how he will fair in Tuesday's stage, but knows one thing for certain; 'I am really in great shape right now - I don't think I've ever been this fit ever before, which bodes well for the Tour de l'Avenir, a key race for Under 25 racers.'
A Tough Stage for Parisien; Cyril Dessel Still in Yellow
Montreal, August 8 2006 - A tough stage greeted Canadian François Parisien (TIAA-CREF) today. The 144 K Stage Three of the Tour de l'Ain between Lagnieu and Lelex Mont Jura saw Parisien finish 23 :05 minutes behind winner Noan Lelarge (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h).
Still under the influence of a nasty cold, Parisien found the seven Cat 1 and 2 climbs more difficult than usual. 'I got shuffled out of the pack at the base of the sixth climb; I just couldn't keep up.' admitted the 24 year old rider. 'At that point, there were still 40 K to go, and at least 25 K of those 40 were climbing. That was enough of a discouragement; but I also was missing water and food; I was riding on nothing. I think I climbed the last hill at 10 k an hour.' Despite the brutality of the experience, Parisien was still positive about his ride. 'I still managed to ride the first five hills of 7 or 8 K with the pack, which shows that I am improving on the long climbs.'
In the General Classement, Parisien is in 57th place, more than 24 minutes from Yellow Jersey holder, France's Cyril Dessel (AG2R). Stage Four and Five (the final stage) will take place Wednesday in the towns of Culoz and Belley, respectively. A race of 135 K which ends in a loop featuring a Cat 2 climb that must be climbed three times awaits riders.
François Parisien Forced to Abandon - Cyril Dessel Tour Winner
Montreal, August 9 2006 - After two solid stages, François Parisien (TIAA-CREF) was forced to abandon Wednesday at the fourth and final stage of France's Tour de l'Ain. Undermined f by a nasty virus, the Repentigny, Quebec, native had to stop at the first feed zone on the 136 K route between Culoz et Belley.
French rider Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole) won the stage; in the General Classement fellow Frenchman Cyril Dessel (AG2R Prevoyance) won the Tour with a time of 14 hours 56 minutes 53 seconds; coming in for second place was Noan Lelarge (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h), 22 seconds behind Dessel.
After two solid stages, Parisien finally fell victim to a good-old fashioned case of the cooties. 'I know I am sick.' conceded the rider who finished 24th and 43th in the first and second stages of the Tour. 'I wasn't feeling well Tuesday, and during the night I just got sicker. When I was at the start line this morning, I knew that the chances were very slim that I would finish.' Parisien's roommate and teammate Will Frischkorn was himself ill the day before, and was possibly the culprit in transmitting germs to the Canadian.
'I tried to take part in a break-away, and I just could not do it.' Explained the 2005 Canadian Road Champion. 'It's a shame to be ill right now, since other than this, I am in the best shape of my life. However, the line between being in shape and sick is very fine at this level of racing; so my immune system is letting me know it is weakened.'
Despite a less-than-ideal Tour ending, 24 year old Parisien views the Tour de l'Ain as an excellent step towards securing a spot on a Pro Tour team. 'This race gave me a lot of confidence. If you consider that if I hadn't been ill, I could have more than likely finished at roughly five minutes from Dessel. Finishing that close to a guy who just came in top ten at the Tour de France is very very motivating.'
Parisien will return to racing this Sunday in Spain at the Urkiola Igoera - Subida Urkiola Race.