Posted by Editoress on 06/15/08
Tour de Beauce
There were two races going on Saturday at the Tour de Beauce - the race for the stage win and the race for the Yellow Jersey. Team Sparkasse won the first battle by taking first and second, while Symmetrics and their race leader Svein Tuft won the second, by preserving Tuft's lead despite the efforts of both Team Type 1 and Tecos Trek.
The Circuit Urbain St-Georges is usually the final stage of the Tour de Beauce, with a race through the streets of Quebec City the penultimate one. However, this year organizers swapped the two around. Both are of a similar nature - a race through city streets dominated by a long and steep climb. For the St-Georges stage this meant 15 times up a 1.5 kilometre climb, with the finish at the top of the climb.
For Symmetrics, the goal was to allow a break of non-dangerous riders to get away while they kept track of the dangerous rivals: Bernardo Colex (Tecos Trek) at 7 seconds and three Team Type 1 riders - Valeriy Kobzarenko (46 seconds). Moises Aldape (48 seconds) and Glen Chadwick (65 seconds).
Colex was by far the most serious threat, since his climbing skills could potentially see him jump away on the final climb and grab the few seconds he needed. However, Team Type 1 had three arrows in their quiver, and they could possibly continue sending off threats until Tuft could no longer respond.
Symmetrics saw the first part of their plan work out perfectly when a group of eleven riders down on general classification establish a break on the second lap. In the break were: Chris Jones (Team Type 1), Eric Baumann (Team Sparkasse), Andreas Schillinger (Team Sparkasse), Ryan Roth (Team R.A.C.E Pro), Jean-SÃƒÂ©bastien Perron (EVA Devinci), Charles Dionne (Team Quebec), Neil Shirley (Jittery Joe's), Paul Brousse (A-Style Stomn), Ciaran Power (Pezula Racing), Cameron Jennings (Pezula Racing), Robert Partridge (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk).
These eleven were joined three laps later by Jairo Perez Suarez (Colombian National Team), Carlos Oyarzun Guinez (Tecos Trek UAG) and Ian Macgregor (Team Type 1), making 11 teams represented in the break.
The group would gain a little over four minutes on the peloton before starting to fall back. Nine riders did stay away, with Schillinger and Baumann attacking the disintegrating front group in the final lap to secure the top two podium spots.
"At the beginning of the race it was very hard to get away," explained Schillinger "but every team in the break was working. The Team Type 1 riders attacked with five laps remaining which made the break smaller and then I was able to attack on the climb just before the last lap started. When I looked back the only riders I could see were Eric, my team mate, and the A-Style rider [Brouse]. So we attacked again and dropped him, which was perfect for us."
Meanwhile, Symmetrics had their squad on the front setting tempo and keeping the pace high enough to discourage attacks from more dangerous rivals.
Andrew Pinfold, Andrew Randell and Zach Bell were at the front for the early laps, with Meier taking over duties on the flats later in the race and Cam Evans and Jacob Erker reserved for the climb.
The plan was working so well that Team Type 1 made only one abortive effort on the climb at the end of lap ten by Chadwick, which was brought back by the Symmetrics team after they crested the climb.
"It was just a test to see what Symmetrics would do, and maybe we could get rid of a couple of their guys," said Chadwick. "But no one else was willing to work with us. I think Cam [Evans] was probably the key for Symmetrics today, he was riding the climb strong than Svein."
In the final four laps it was primarily Meier on the flats and Evans on the climb that were the workhorses for Symmetrics. Evans' pace on the climb was so high that there were no attacks even on the second from last lap.
Coming along the base of the climb on the last lap, Team Type 1 went to the front, but after the vastly reduced peloton turned the corner to begin the climb, it was Evans, Erker and Meier who took Tuft back to the front.
With 500 metres to go, Team Type 1 finally made a last ditch effort, with Kobzarenko jumping from the left to the right side of the road and taking Aldape and Colex with him. The trio opened a little space, but Tuft came across to roll in just behind Aldape and side by side with Colex.
"I would say that without this team, it wouldn't have been possible [to keep the jersey]. Everybody was riding so strong ... Cam and Christian were riding out of their skins. I didn't have to do any work and was able to stay fresh, and on the last lap when Kobzarenko attacked and took Colex with them ... Cam had the pace so high that they were only going maybe a kilometre an hour faster than us, so it was easy for me to jump across and get on Colex's wheel."
Symmetrics had accomplished their goal. Now they have to repeat it tomorrow, to make Tuft the first Canadian champion of the Tour de Beauce since 1995.
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