Posted by Editor on 09/10/01
Tour de l'Avenir - France
Report from Team Mercury
Tour de l'Avenir, stage 3: a frustrating day for attacking Aussies
Inside the Mercury Cycling Team riding the Tour de l'Avenir, there are two aggressive boys from Down Under: Baden Cooke, who already scored 17 wins this year, mainly in the US, and Matt Wilson, who's a stagiaire, trying to begin his pro career. In stage 3, after 75 kilometers of racing, there was a strong tail wind (57 km covered during the second hour!), Cooke went in an 11 men breakaway with Bodrogi and Petrov of Mapei, Jimenez of iBanesto.com, Brard and Flickinger of Festina, Chavanel of Bonjour, Gabrovski of Jean Delatour, Michael Reihs of Phonak, Rafa Mateos of Colpack and Benjamin Levecot of BigMat. Most of the big names on the start list!
They never had more than a one minute lead, Cooke won a hot spot sprint on his way and the break couldn't last more than 40 kilometers. After it got caught, four other riders broke clear. This time, the other Australian from Mercury was in: Filippo Pozzato of Mapei, Guillaume Auger of BigMat, Geoffrey Demeyre of Vlaanderen 2002 went away with Wilson, later joined by Mederic Clain of Cofidis, Franck Schleck of Festina and Christophe Kern of Bonjour. The peloton chased so hard that it broke in two parts and the yellow jersey, JP Nazon of Française des Jeux was in the second one.
When the whole bunch regrouped, Chavanel attacked. This young guy from Bonjour was the king of the mountains last year in the Tour de l'Avenir and he rode the Tour de France this year. He's still motivated, as always. 25 kilometers to go, he was joined by Samuel Sanchez of Euskaltel, Alessandro Cortinovis of Colpack and Bodrogi again. They had a 43 second lead. The pack chased hard and Wilson and Ernie Lechuga were amongst the most aggressive riders trying to bring Cooke across. At the end, Baden won the bunch sprint, but 13 seconds were missing. Bodrogi had won. This is pretty frustrating for Mercury, who lost Svein Tuft early in a crash. Fortunately, the Canadian made it in the time cut. There will be better days . . .
Tour de l'Avenir, stage 4
It's been a fantastic day for Mercury in the Tour de l'Avenir as Matt Wilson took the win at the end of stage 4. He was the last rider to come across in a ten man breakaway going out from the bunch with 44 kilometers to go. Smart move. He rejoined Eladio Jimenez of iBanesto.com, who's currently one of the biggest favorites for the overall classification, Francisco Lara of Festina, Benoit Poilvet of Credit Agricole, Fabrice Salanson of Bonjour, Jesus Manzano of Kelme, Christophe Edaleine of Jean Delatour, Matteo Gigli of Colpack, Nicolas Meunier of BigMat and Steve Zampieri of Post Swiss Team. They all caught two men already up the front: Benjamin Levecot of BigMat and Nicolas Reynaud of Festina.
As the Swiss rider Zampieri, Frenchman Levecot and later Italian Gigli got dropped, the Tour de France speaker Daniel Mangeas could announce: "This is a battle between France and Spain, but watch out, the referee is an Australian and he may be the strongest!" That was completely right. Let's listen to Matt to know what happened in the final meters: "Everyone in the break worked together except the Bonjour rider (Salanson) who attacked us with one kilometer to go, but we caught him. Then the BigMat rider (Meunier) sprinted from far. I saw the finish was uphill so I didn't want to go out too early, which I finally did with 150 meters, quite far, but that was OK."
It actually looked like an easy win. A super happy man Wilson crossed the line yelling. This is his fourth victory this year but the best by far. He never won a pro race before and it's probably necessary to recall that Matt is only a stagiaire, as a potential professional in a trial period.
What he did is also exceptional considering that he quit cycling for a year and half. A cancer was diagnosed in 1999, he suffered from the Hodgkin's disease but recovered well and came back on his bike in September 2000, just one year ago! What a progress in a short time. His big friend Baden Cooke was at least as happy as him after crossing the line. As every day nearly, he won the bunch sprint behind the leaders, which allows him to take second place in the sprint classification, so he'll wear the Green Jersey on stage 5 because Jean-Patrick Nazon can't wear both Yellow and Green.
Nazon still leads the overall by 5 seconds but at the end of stage 3, there was a split in the bunch and Matt Wilson was in the second half, so he lost eight seconds compared to the first half, and now, he misses five seconds for taking the yellow jersey, what a pity.
Another disappointment for Mercury came from Svein Tuft who had to pull out because he couldn't stand up on his bike, his back was too painful since the crash he had the day before. Then, at the very end of the race, right in front of the Moet et Chandon cellars - the stage to Epernay finished in the middle of the Champagne area, cheers Matt! - he fell on a roundabout with 500 meters to go. Fortunately, he's not badly injured and he will not miss his wedding on September 29th.
Stage 5 - Mardeuil to Ancerville 198 km
1 J.Miguel Cuenca (Esp) Kelme-Costa Blanca 4:34:16
2 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bonjour
3 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole both s.t.
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Mercury at 1:26
5 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Phonak Hearing Systems
6 AurÃƒÂ©lien Clerc (Sui) Post Swiss Team
7 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
8 Tom Vannoppen (Bel) Vlaanderen-T Interim
9 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Mercury
10 Rafael Mateos (Esp) Team Colpack-Astro all s.t.
1 J.Miguel Cuenca (Esp) Kelme-Costa Blanca 22:24:53
2 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bonjour at 0:37
3 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux 0:53
4 Matthew Wilson (Aus) Mercury 0:58
5 Eladio Jimenez Sanchez (Esp) iBanesto.com 1:02
6 Benoit Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole
7 Francisco Lara (Esp) Festina both s.t.
8 Jesus Manzano (Esp) Kelme-Costa Blanca 1:06
9 Nicolas Meunier (Fra) Bigmat.Auber 93 s.t.
10 Christophe Edaleine (Fra) Jean Delatour 1:07
Markham Time Trial
Courtesy Peter A. Hurley
Organizer: Geoff Gadd/D'Ornellas Bike Shop Racing Team
End of Season best times (May 30 - August 30)
Course is a rolling loop (4 corners, approx 12.4 km)
15 km course is 1 lap + 2.6 km, 40 km course is three laps + 2.8 km
|15 km Time Trial||best ride||avg. speed|
|40 km Time Trial||best ride||avg. speed|
|Return to Canadian Cyclist homepage | Back to Top|