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Posted by Editoress on 06/18/16
Mikhel Raim (Cycling Academy) took his second stage win at the Tour de Beauce on Saturday, outsprinting Pierrick Naud (Rally Cycling) and Canadian criterium champion Ben Perry (Silber) at a downtown stage in Quebec City. The general classification was not affected, with Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) continuing to hold onto the Yellow, Points and Young Rider jerseys going into Sunday's final stage.
Mikhel Raim (Cycling Academy) wins
The Quebec City stage is usually a tough circuit race through streets of Old Quebec with a steep climb from the St Lawrence River to the upper town. However, this year organizers substituted a criterium, with 35 laps of a two kilometre circuit.
The first ten laps saw numerous attempts to form a break, with the largest consisting of 20 riders, including Daniel, second placed Hugo Houle (Team Canada) and other GC riders. However, the GC teams that were not in the break brought it back.
Raim counterattacked as the break was being caught, and was joined by Naud, Perry, David Boily (Garneau Quebecor) and Angus Morton (Jelly Belly). Morton was the only GC threat, 2:18 down on Daniel, and was driving the break, but Axeon was content to let it go out to nearly a minute. Holowesko/Citadel tried to chase it down, since their third place GC rider, Robin Carpenter was being threatened, but ran out of horsepower with six laps to go. Axeon then came to the front and quickly pulled it back to 18 seconds at the finish.
Perry led out of the last corner for the final 300 metre uphill sprint, but was passed by both Raim and Naud, with Raim easily outkicking Naud.
"Raim attacked just as the big break was coming back," explained Perry, "so I went across to him on Angus Morton's wheel, and then Pierrick and David came over. We were working pretty well together and Angus had a pretty good motivation to get a gap. I tried to get myself behind Raim and Pierrick, but Morton did a big surge and I was right behind him [before he pulled off], so I just tried to go from the front, but my attack wasn't sharp enough and they both came around me."
Daniel goes into Sunday's final stage with 16 seconds on Houle (down from the previously published 18 seconds after a timing correction). The last circuit race in St-Georges is 12 laps of a 10 kilometre circuit, with a long climb that has completely blown the race apart in some previous editions when the race leader's team is not strong enough to control. However, Daniel's Axeon team has been impressively strong and composed, so he will be difficult to dislodge.