Posted by Editoress on 06/19/02
Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce
Stage 3: Lac Echemin to Lac Echemin 150km
Stage 3 of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce saw the riders put a hard day in the saddle. While the stage was, on paper, only 150.8 kilometres, Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) points out "it's relentless, and feels more like a 200 kilometre stage in other races."
Lubor Tesar (Nürnberger) chalked up his second win in as many days, winning a field sprint over yesterday's second place finisher - David McKenzie (iTeamNova.com). The pace was fast from the start and, coupled with the endless rolling 2 kilometre climbs of 6%-8%, saw the field split. In the end, only 40 riders made the cut for the front group, with the remainder of the field finishing over 21 minutes back, and putting themselves out of contention.
After some early solo and duo break attempts, the serious work began during the final KoM of the day, 77 kilometres into the stage. On the 4.2 kilometre climb 8 riders got away, joined first by another 12, and then eventually by another 20. Mercury was well represented by 4, including Gord Fraser and Scott Moninger, however, defending champion Henk Vogels missed the move.
iTeamNova.com had Dominique Perras, Alan Iacuone and Scott Guyton, Saturn had Wohlberg plus 2, Prime Alliance had 3 (but not Svein Tuft), Navigators had Mark Walters and 2 others, Nürnberger had 5, including the race leader and Mapei-Quick Step had 4. Team Quebec also managed to put two riders in - François Parisien and Cory Lange. In fact, the only major team to miss the break was the 7Up-Nutra Fig squad of Charles Dionne.
"It was a terrible day for us" said Dionne. "I flatted after the first KoM (the team waited for me) and then we redlined it back to the group. When the (third) big group went after the last KoM we tried to chase, but nobody else was helping. This is the worst day I've had this season."
At the front there were some early efforts to breakaway, but Nürnberger put a stop to that by going to the front for the final 35 kilometres.
"Nürnberger did a great job setting tempo", Fraser acknowledged. "They chased down the breaks and kept the speed high; it was very impressive."
At the end, Nürnberger got the stage win by keeping the pace so high that no one could come by.
"I didn't have it today, after chasing onto the front group." said Fraser. "I got burnt also, when I left Scott (Moninger's) wheel to get on the Navigators train. I decide to risk it because they were going pretty good, but then it didn't go anywhere and I got boxed in. I was in a world of hurt today"
- David McKenzie was in the front group then dropped off the back with severe cramps, and everyone thought that was the end of him. However, he grabbed some cold water from his team vehicle, poured it on his legs and motored back to the front group, eventually finishing second.
- Nürnberger has "the strongest team ever in our history" according to the Director Sportif. They certainly looked good today.
- Czeslaw Lukaszewicz, 4 time national champion, Olympian, Commonwealth Games participant, etc. was at the race . . . driving the Mavic service vehicle. He says that he has opened a bike shop in Chateauguay called Velo Select - check it out.
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