Posted by Editor on 06/21/02
Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce
Stage 5: ITT, 22.1
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce selected its fourth leader in five days on today, as Michael Rogers (Mapei-Quick Step) slipped in front of yesterday's leader Matt Decanio (Prime Alliance). Rogers finished third on the individual time trial stage to German national champion Thomas Liese (NÃƒÂ¼rnberger), but gained enough time on eighth place finisher Decanio to take the yellow jersey. Canadian national time trial champion Eric Wohlberg (Saturn) was fifth in the stage and moved into tenth place overall.
The 22.1 kilometre race against the clock was held on a rolling course, made even more difficult by strong head and cross winds that the riders had to battle for three-quarters of the race.
"This is the toughest time trial they've ever had at Beauce" said Wohlberg, who was selected this week to represent Canada at the Commonwealth Games, and won the overall Beauce title in 1995.
Liese finished 16 seconds in front of team mate Artour Babaitsev, but was confident coming into the stage. "It was windy and difficult, but it was good for me because it was the type of course where you needed a lot of power. My form is getting better as the race goes on, and this is very good preparation for the German road championships next week."
Rogers, who has already won the Tour Down Under early in the season and finished third in the Tour of Greece, was also feeling positive about his chances after a good result on Mont Megantic that put him only 4 seconds down on Decanio.
"I know that I can time trial well, and with only 4 seconds to the lead I was quite confident of my chances. The first three-quarters were really tough, but it finished fast with the tailwind."
Rogers also revealled that he had been preparing for the time trial. "We came up here after Philadelphia and spent a week training on the courses. I spent quite a bit of time on the time trial course and knew it well."
He rates his chances pretty strong at holding onto the jersey until the finish, with a 36 second lead over Decanio.
"You can never say you have enough (time), but let's say that we can be quietly confident."
However, Mapei has only 5 riders, so a number of the other teams feel that they have a good chance to crack the Italian squad.
Liese: "Mapei will have to control, but it will be hard. I think that we have a strong team and so do some others."
Other top Canadian results included Svein Tuft, a stage winner last year, in 13th place, national road champion Mark Walters in 19th, and Quebec's FranÃƒÂ§ois Parisien in 21st. Parisien wears the green jersey as top Quebec rider.
Tomorrow the riders have a double stage day, with a 111 kilometre road race in the morning and a 64 kilometre criterium in the evening.
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