Posted by Editoress on 06/15/12
Once again, Svein Tuft (Team Canada) proved that he has no equal when it comes to time trials in Beauce. The Canadian champion demolished the field to win the 21 kilometre stage by 30 seconds over Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare), with Hugo Houle (SpiderTech p/b C10) in third at 46 seconds. Sutherland takes over the Yellow Jersey from Francesco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist), who dropped to seventh on the General Classification after finishing 15th for the stage. Houle moves into seond overall, with Christian Meier (Team Canada) and Tuft jumping up to third and fourth respectively. Canada had four of the top five riders for the stage and six of the top ten.
Svein Tuft (Canadian National Team) stage 4 winner For more photos scroll to bottom of page
The course is a new one, which Tuft described as "one of the hardest Beauce courses I've seen". While officially listed in the race bible at 20 kilometres, it actually measured out to 21.4 kilometres. A straight out and back, the riders were mostly climbing on the way out, with a tail-cross wind.
Joseph Cooper (Pure Black) set the first fast time of 29:29, which stood for a quite a while before starting to slowly drop, with Zach Bell (SpiderTech p/b C10) the first to go under 29 minutes with 28:43. It wasn't until Tuft - 17th from last to start - came across the line that anyone went below 28 minutes, and Tuft smashed that when he recorded 27:08.
With five to finish, only Meier had come within a minute of Tuft's time at 28:03, followed by Ryan Roth (SpiderTech p/b C10) at 28:18 and Rob Britton (H&R Block) at 28:24. Houle became the next rider to go below 28 minutes at 27:54, with Sutherland then bumping into second at 27:38. Matt Cooke (Exergy), the winner on Mont Megantic yesterday, rode a respectable 28:50 that kept him fifth on GC, but Mancebo was clearly not showing the form of last year, finishing nearly two minutes back.
"Today was the best feeling I've had in my legs for a time trial for some time," commented Tuft, who competed at the Giro d'Italia before coming to the Tour de Beauce, and is favoured to be named as Canada's entry for men's time trial at the Olympics next week. "My season this year has been built around peaking for August, at the Olympic time trial, so this was a good indicator that I'm on track." (Note: we have an interview with Tuft, below)
Podium: Hugo Houle, Svein Tuft, Rory Sutherland For more photos scroll to bottom of page
Houle, who had moved into fourth in the overall standings after stage three, hopes to maintain his position over the final two stages. "Our team is here to win, but I think it will be very difficult to beat Rory [Sutherland] because his team is so strong. So, it will be just as important to watch out for Christian [Meier] and Svein [Tuft], because they will fight very hard to overtake me."
Tuft also suggested that the race for the overall victory is certainly not over. "I think there are going to be some fireworks on the last two stages, and it will be very exciting for cycling fans."