September 12/99 10:45 am - Trans-Canada Stage 9 Story
Posted by Editor on 09/12/99
Ho hum, another stage, another win for Gord Fraser. This is what it is starting to feel like at the Trans Canada Tour, as Mercury's answer to Mario Cipollini won his fifth stage of the race.
Stage 9, a 135 kilometre run from Hamilton to Niagara Falls, was designed by one of Canada's most famous cyclists - Steve Bauer. The 135 kilometre stage took the riders through the wine country of the Niagara penninsula, and up and down the Niagara Escarpment, before finishing at the honeymoon capital of the world.
Vini Caldirola set the tone from the crack of the starting pistol, as they tried on this penultimate stage to break Guido Trentin free of the pack and make up the 27 seconds he lags behind race leader Jean-Cyril Robin (Francaise des Jeux). Their efforts had the effect of boosting the average speed for the stage to over 46 kilometres an hour, but FdJ kept everything together, setting the stage for Fraser's fifth stage victory in a pack sprint.
Even Flash Gordon, as the race is starting to nickname him, is amazed at his consistency: "I can't believe that my legs are so good this late in the season. My team mates do what is needed to deliver me to the line, and I do my job." However, it is likely that Fraser's reign on the winners podium is over, as the race ends on Sunday (September 12th) with a time trial. Pan Am Games gold medallist Eric Wohlberg (Canadian National) is favoured here, but the real race is between Robin and Trentin, since no one else is close enough to have a chance of making up the time gap on Robin.