Posted by Editoress on 07/21/16
Thursday brought another lead change to the 2016 Tour de l'Abitibi; the third change in as many days. It was a two stage day, with Team USA winning both stages. Brandon McNulty won the morning time trial to take over the Brown Jersey as overall leader, while his team mate Ian Garrison won the short evening stage sprint finish in torrential rain, with Charles-Etienne Chretien (Team Canada) finishing third..
McNulty came into Abitibi as a GC favourite, after finishing second overall last year as a first year Junior. The 9.6 kilometre time trial in Rouyn-Noranda was the first real chance to separate out the field, and McNulty was the only rider to go under 12 minutes, with a time of 11:35. James Fouche (New Zealand) was second at 12:03, with Garrison third at the same time. The USA and Denmark took nine of the top ten spots, with five for the Americans and four for the Danes. Team Canada's Nickolas Zukowsky was the top Canadian in 11th, at one minute even. This put McNulty 32 seconds ahead of Morten Hulgaard (Denmark), with Garrison at 35 seconds. Zuckowsky moved into tenth overall, at 1:06. McNulty also took the Points Jersey, while Jules Gilliam (Team USA) moved into the Blue Jersey as best first year Junior.
Heavy rain moved into the region for the evening stage, which was a 51.5 kilometre race starting and finishing in the town of Malartic. The torrential downpour did not stop constant attacks from jumping away, only to be chased down, setting the stage for a bunch sprint. Garrison finished a bike length in front of Luca Grall (France), with Chretien taking his second podium of the week, in third place. The stage made no change to the overall standings, however, Grall did regain the Points Jersey he had lost after the time trial.
The Tour de l'Abitibi heads to Notre-Dame-du-Nord for Stage 5 on Friday, a 100.7 kilometre loop that begins and ends in the town. The stage has two Intermediate Sprints and two KoM climbs.