Posted by Editor on 06/22/03
Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce
This report made possible through the sponsorship of Evolution by Oryx
Stage 6 - St Georges circuit race, 154 km
John Lieswyn and his 7 Up-Maxxis squad successfully defended the yellow jersey in the final stage of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce, with Lubor Tesar (Ed's System-ZVVZ) just holding off Charles Dionne (Canadian National) to take the final stage victory.
Lieswyn had held the jersey from stage one, and started the final stage 47 seconds in front of Chris Baldwin (Navigators). Tomas Konecny (Ed's System-ZVVZ) and Danny Pate (Prime Alliance) were also less than a minute behind, so 7 Up could not afford to rest, despite having spent a week at the front of the peloton.
The final stage of Beauce is no pushover, with the riders completing 14 laps of a tough 11 kilometre circuit (down from 15 after the start was delayed for 30 minutes) that featured a 2.5 kilometre climb every lap. The action started immediately, with 7 riders breaking clear on the first lap - Cory Lange (Canadian National), polka dot jersey holder Irving Aguilar and his Tecos- Mercurio team mate Joel Alamillo, Lubos Kejval (Ed's System - ZVVZ), Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators) who has been in almost every long break of the week, Bert Scheirlinckx (Flanders - Iteamnova.com) and Ryan Roth (Jet Fuel). Scheirlinckx was best placed on GC, in 10th at 3:42.
The gap never went over 3 minutes, but 7 Up was vigilant, with the surprising assistance of Health Net. No one was talking, but it appeared that an agreement was in place, especially when Gord Fraser took strong pulls at the front and dropped out with less than 50 kilometres remaining. As the race moved into the final four laps the front group was shuffled, with Tesar moving up to join Swindlehurst, Lange and Scheirlinkx. Swindlehurst attacked solo, but at the same time, Charles Dionne, Svein Tuft (Prime Alliance) and Jeff Louder (Navigators) were making their way up to the front.
After the chasers made contact, Swindlehurst was dropped, leaving Dionne, Tesar, Louder and Tuft in front. The peloton was beginning to close in as the race entered the final two laps, and Dionne took the initiative, shouldering the lion's share of the work. At the line, the gap was virtually eliminated (the peloton was given the same time as the leaders), with Tesar holding off Dionne and Louder to take the stage.
"Today I felt like I had a big engine in the break - at least a V-12" said Dionne "The other riders were not working, and so I had to work to make sure that we were not caught. I still felt confident for the sprint, but Tesar was just too strong today."
- Lieswyn almost didn't come to Beauce. "From February I have wanted to do Beauce, but there was no rest between Philly and Minnesota, so I wasn't too sure about coming to Beauce. If I had decided not to, I would have missed a big win for the team."
- 81 riders started the final stage, 55 finished, with one outside the time limit.
- Eric Wohlberg is reasonably happy with his fifth place, and looks to be on track for the Nationals time trial next Friday: "Obviously, I would have been happier to win, but the Canadian (National) Team used all of its resources, and we did the best we could. I came here to prepare for the Nationals, and to pick up international ranking points, and that went well, so I'm happy. I've come out of Beauce tired but not sick, and I have enough time to rest for Nationals." Wohlberg says that he probably won't race the criterium (on Saturday) to defend his title, because the road race is the next day.
- Canadian riders did an excellent job of adding UCI points to Canada's tally. Despite losing the points gained at last year's Beauce, Fraser's stage win and 3 riders in the top 10 means that Canada should add around 90 points to its ranking in the UCI Nation standings.
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