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July 27/99 11:43 am - Abitibi Report


Posted by Editor on 07/27/99
 

Report From Abitibi

Sanneterre - Val d'Or

Another good day for the canadian squad... The stage started in a remote village in the north east part of Abitibi on a hot and windy day. For the canadians the strategy was to be in front from the start because of the cross wind to start that would last for roughly 40 kms. Everybody was to cover moves of four or more riders and the message was received loud and clear by Charlie Gorman, who was very present in the moves. After a few good crashes and flats a breakaway took off in three waves with Charlie in the first wave of five and Dominique Rollin bridging with 3 others to form a total group of a dozen or so. The lead eventually got up to 1min 25 with all breakaway riders working in sync. The break hit the finishing crit circuit 40 seconds, behind South Africa was working a steady pace.

After a lot of work at the front, Charlie was the first to pop from the break with 4 laps to go on the 6 lap circuit. With 2 laps to go the break was almost swallowed but almost at the same time off from that break went Buccambuso of Arizona select for a solo effort that would bring him in for the win. Seconds after Buccambuso crossed the line in came the pack.

At the end of the day, the brown leaders jersey would go on Brad Buccambuso's shoulders. Dominique Rollin, thanks to his third place finish with time bonuses slides into 6th place overall.

Onward to the decisive TT...

Val D'Or - Val d'Or Individual time trial

The individual time trial is always the moment of truth in the Tour of Abitibi. The top teams with aspirations of winning overall brought not only their fastest TT guys but also their fastest bikes. The course was basically an out and back with fast flat climbs and descents for a total of 15kms. Right off the gun, Charlie Gorman had the best time as he crossed the line but soon to be beat by an Albertan by the name of Zachary Davis who also clocked a good time at nationals a few weeks back. Towards the end of the start list were the best guys on GC and the fight would be fierce until the end with Wesley Cole of South Africa, William Skinner and Sterling Magnell of Mass. At the end of everything though, the win went to Brad Buccambuso who clocked a time 18m44secs, 17 seconds faster than Wesley Cole, the runner up. For the canadians, aside from Zac Davis, the top spots were held by Eric Dubé, national road champ and once again, Dominique Rollin putting out a reasonable time. The GC leader remains the same... Will he keep it until the end???

Preissac - Val d'Or

This stage was one that could go either way, like a lot of double stage days go. Either GC is decided with a significant breakaway or a bunch not in to much of a hurry to finish. To make sure nothing went without a Canada guy, the strategy was to provoke moves for the first 30 kms. That tactic was followed to a tee with the Canadians launching left, right and centre. After a while nothing seemed to want to go except for Mathieu Béliveau who tried without success to stay away for 15 kms.

When it was clear nothing seemed to want to go, the guys were told to take it easy and wait for the Dutch to start moving as they had a habit of doing towards the last kms. Sure enough in the last hectometres a group of three riders broke free and among them were two Dutch riders. Just one small Mexican against two tuff dutchies...

Well, the mexican Jose Sanchez beat the odds by taking the stage. And in rolled the pack at only 10 seconds.The GC remains the same.

Amos - Val d'Or

Last road race of the stage race and the canadians had their work cut out for them as the goal of the day was to snag bonus seconds for Dominique Rollin in the two intermediate sprints to hoist up into 4 th or 5th place overall.

At km 25 the canadians lined up at the front with Dominique safely tucked away behind Eric Dubé. A miscalculation made them lose their chance. Soon luck would change when Dominique got in a break of 7 that would take more than a minute on the pack. At kilometre 73, Dominique was determined to not let his last chance for bonus seconds go to waste. At 300 meters from the sprint the french rider took the lead with a USA guy and Dominique on his wheel. With 50 m to go Dominique let loose his turbo to take the precious 3 seconds. Not only that, if the race would finish in bunch sprint Dom, would take 5th overall but as it stood after the last time sprint, Dominique was the virtual leader of the tour with the pack now at more than 1m30.

When the break made it on the 8 lap circuit of 2,2 kms the pack gained back some time. As the laps progressed and the leaders team Arizona select and the South Africans were working, it became apparent that the race might come down to another pack sprint. With a lap or so to go, the break was swallowed and the pack sprint set-up was underway. In the last meters dutch rider Pieter Weening would finally have his day and win the stage.Dominique Rollin would move into 5th only a second out of 4th place.

The Val d'Or criterium.

A finishing criterium in a Tour often means that it's a formality for the lead GC riders but not on this circuit and not with 77 kms to do in the 30 plus heat.

For the canadians, the job was crystal clear. They were to take care of Dominique's 5th place and cover moves until the mid race. After the midway point, everybody was to start attacking to put pressure on the leaders.

Once again, the job was well done with Charlie doing a great job making the leaders feel pain. Other teams had the same thing in mind for Buccambuso who's team has been feeling the strain of protecting their leader for a few days now. After a while, Buccambuso was doing all the chasing and he was starting to crack... Unfortunately, the end of the race was growing near and in a last ditched attempt to make up time Dominique accompanied by Mathieu Beliveau and Martin Gilbert of Canada and a few others created a gap with less than a lap to go. The attempt would be shattered in the last descent and the race would finish in a bunch sprint yet again. At the end of the day, Dominique would take the 4th pace overall due to a crash from the South African Wesley Cole.

The top three on GC would be Buccambuso, Scheepers from S-Africa and Magnell from Mass Hot tubes. Dominique just missing out on the podium.

Jacques Landry
National team development coach

 


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