5-hour ENERGY® presented by Kenda Racing Team
Tour de Beuce
June 11, 2013
After a solid week of rest since Philly the early start was the first shock of the day for the riders. The second shock was the rain that steadily soaked them all day long. Stage one was a large circuit around Lac-Etchemin, covering 165kms, with two time bonus sprints and two category 3 climbs. On paper the route and profile didn’t look bad. Out on course the profile was deceiving and the weather made things worse. From the start the 5-hour ENERGY® presented by Kenda Team wanted to have a man in the break.
The Tour de Beauce restricts teams to only seven riders; normally we would have eight riders, so from the start we decided to have all our guys share the workload of controlling the early moves. The guys took turns covering attacks, but only for about 10 miles, that was when Jim Stemper went up the road with Alex Cataford (Garneau-Quebecor). The two dangled at about a minute for a kilometer or two and then they were gone. The gap rose steadily and quickly from 3min, 4min, etc. up to 9 min. The two worked very well together with Jim stating, “This guy was a rider just like me, we worked together very well.”
Once the gap hit 9 minutes the alarm bells went off to the other teams. That is when United HealthCare, Vacuums, Champion System, and the Canadian National Team all put guys on the front to start the chase.
Cataford took the first two time bonuses and Stemper won the two mountain sprints. Stemper had secured the mountain jersey and a podium appearance but the lure of the yellow jersey is what drove both riders to push until the very end. In the final ten kilometers the road kicked up with two or three one kilometer climbs and the break’s tired legs couldn’t match the speed of chasing of the peloton. The peloton had a steady ride all day so many of the riders were fresh… well as fresh as they could be after 4 hours of fifty degree rain. The riders knew the yellow jersey was on the line for whoever won and their speed and aggressiveness triggered some crashes. At the finish Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager) won the group sprint and we had Bobby Sweeting place 8th with the rest of the 5-hour Energy riders finishing safely in the group.
Tomorrow terrain is more hilly and a more difficult stage. The riders can handle this but I know they don’t want to deal with any more cold rain. All of the Jerseys will be up for grabs tomorrow so it should be an aggressive race from the start.
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