June 13/12 18:28 pm - Tour de Beauce: Stage 2 report and photos
Posted by Editoress on 06/13/12
Francesco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) held onto his Yellow Jersey after stage two of the Tour de Beauce by a slim three seconds, after a break of two riders stayed clear of the peloton on what was expected to be a sprint stage. Craig Lewis (Champion Systems) outkicked Canadian Jamie Sparling (Raleigh-GAC) to take the stage win and moved into second on the overall standings.
Craig Lewis wins stage 2
The 160 kilometre stage began and ended in Thetford Mines, west of St-Georges, the home town of the Tour de Beauce. While it featured the rolling terrain that the Beauce region is known for, there were no particularly memorable obstacles to split up the field. Expected to be more of a factor was the rain, which was coming down fiercely only 30 minutes before the start. However, the rain backed off and, after racing the first third of the race on wet roads, the the skies cleared and the sun actually came out at the finish.
Attacks came thick and fast after the end of the neutralized section out of Thetford Mines, but nothing stuck until over 40 kilometres had passed, when three riders quietly rolled off the front - Lewis, Sparling and James Williamson (Bike NZ-Pure Black). The trio were helped by the fact that a mass 'nature break' was starting to take place as they rolled away on a climb.
"This was the day that everyone wanted to be in the break before Megantic tomorrow," commented Sparling. "I think that everyone had just gotten tired of chasing stuff down when we went."
Whatever the reason, the three quickly went two minutes up, with the gap maxxing out at just around four minutes before Mancebo's team went to the front to ride tempo. They kept it at around three and a half minutes until after the feedzone when, with 60 kilometres remaining, teams with sprinters - such as Team Type 1 (TT1) and UnitedHealthcare - began to offer some assistance.
Over the second KoM the leaders lost Williamson and the gap dropped to under three minutes, and then under two minutes with 25 kilometres to go. Lewis was doing the bulk of the work, with Sparling contributing where possible.
"It was pretty amazing, I felt like I was motorpacing," said Sparling. "Lewis was definitely doing most of the work; I was helping on the downhills, where because I'm bigger it made a difference."
Hitting Thetford Mines for three laps of a 3.5 kilometre circuit the gap was down to 1:15, and everyone was expecting them to be caught, including Sparling. "I was in a break with four on this course two years ago, and we were caught, so I thought they would get us, right up until we were on the last lap."
Inexplicably, TT1 had eased off on the circuit, and the duo started the final lap 1:05 up, which would have easily put Lewis into Yellow, after starting the day 45 seconds back. Competitive Cyclist actually had to help at the front to pull the margin down to 29 seconds by the finish. Lewis took the stage by five seconds over Sparling with TT1 salvaging third in the field sprint from Alexander Serebryakov.
Podium: Alexander Serebryakov, Craig Lewis, Jamie Sparling
There were a tense few minutes for Mancebo after the stage; Lewis had won by 29 seconds, plus a ten second bonus for the stage win and another three seconds for taking the second KoM - if he had won the first KoM instead of finishing second he would have taken the overall lead.
Jerseys KOM: Hanson, Points: Matthias Friedemann, Leader: Mancebo, Best Young Rider: Adiq Othman
- Tomorrow is the Queen stage of Beauce, the 164 kilometre run from St-Georges to Mont Megantic. It finishes with a 6.8 kilometre climb averaging 7.7% (with spots over 15%) to the observatory atop the highest paved road in Eastern Canada, at 1102 metres. This is where Mancebo won Beauce last year, and for any rider who hopes to be in contention for the overall, a good result here is mandatory. The stage begins at 9:30 am (EST) and is expected to finish sometime around 1:45 pm to 2:15 pm.
- We have an interview with Jamie Sparling that will be posted later
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Tour de Beauce June 12/12 - June 17/12, Beauce region, Quebec