Posted by Editoress on 06/15/04
Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce
Stage 1: Québec City Circuit, 125 km
Stage 1 plunged the riders into hard terrain right away, with 10 laps of a 12 kilometre circuit that featured a sharp 11% climb one kilometre in length, and a upward sloping finish into the wind. The third, sixth and ninth laps offered Climber's points for the ascent.
Wadecki broke away early in the second lap, taking Team Ontario rider Buck Miller with him. Miller managed to hang on until the sixth time up the climb before dropping off the pace. Wadecki took his lead as high as 4:20 by lap seven, but he was visibly tiring, and Colavita-Bolla and Health Net were increasing the tempo behind. On lap eight he started to come back quickly, especially when struggling along solo into the headwind along the top section of the course, however, he did manage to stay away for one more lap, taking maximum points in all three KoMs.
Once he was back in the fold, the attacks began, but Navigators, Colavita and Health Net kept on top of everything. Walters went with a break in the final kilometre, only to have Dominguez and Dionne come by in the final 150 metres.
"I like a course like this one", said Dominguez afterwards. "The hills are not too long, so I can stay with the leaders. At the end I could see the three riders in front, and as soon as I came around the last corner (at 300 metres) I jumped. Dionne was behind me, I could see when I looked down (under his arm), but he was 2-3 bike lengths behind so I knew it was okay."
Dionne was philosophical about losing out to Dominguez. "I'm pretty pleased. There were some strong attacks up the climb on the last lap, but I was able to stay in good position. I waited a little bit after the last corner, because I didn't want to make a mistake and go too early in the strong headwind, and then when Ivan (Dominguez) went I followed him, but he was too strong at the line."
Tomorrow, the racing gets harder, with many of the long rolling climbs that Beauce is notorious for in the 180 kilometre stage.
- Mark Walters says that he is finally starting to feel better after a long struggle with the thyroid condition he suffers from. "In April I was really struggling, I felt like the previous spring (when he was diagnosed). I had to up my dosage of medication, and start taking it multiple times per day. But I am doing better now.
It was a hard circuit. None of our team felt super fresh, but we just gutted it out. Our team was trying to position either Viktor (Rapinski) or myself for the finish. There was an attack with a kilometre to go and I got on it. Then Ivan (Dominguez) and Charles (Dionne) came up in the final 150 metres. After that it was just a drag race to the line."
- Gord Fraser didn't contest the sprint after spending his energy chasing down a break for Health Net's GC hopeful Scott Moninger. "I just didn't have it today - I've been better. Most of the team is struggling, so when Scott said we had to pull it (the break) back, I had to take a real big turn. It was a little disappointing, but there are more stages to come."
Fraser also confirmed that he will race the Nationals in Kamloops, now that he has made the Olympic pool. "I will be there. With bells on! I'm starting to get excited now. I didn't think that I could make the criteria, but I understand that Athens (the course) suits me. Canada will need a sprinter there, and I've shown that I'm the guy who can go up against the Europeans."
- Mat Toulouse is racing for Team Quebec, and will be giving Mount Snow (Norba) a miss. "I rode well at the World Cups in Europe, but I need more racing to get in better shape for Mont Ste Anne and Calgary. I'm not sure if I'm going to finish (Beauce), but the training is good."
- Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) is back! Tuft took a year off after prime Alliance folded, but says that he is enjoying being back racing, especially at Beauce - where he won the final stage in 2001 and came to the attention of the U.S. pro teams. "I needed to get my head together, take some time out. But I missed this, and I'm sure happy to be back."
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