Posted by Editoress on 07/16/02
Tour de L'Abitibi
Courtesy Luc Arseneau Head Coach - Atlantic Cycling Centre Team
Val-d'Or (July 16, 2002 - 11:45am) - Tough start for the Atlantic Canada representatives
Things did not go as smoothly as predicted in the demonstration mini-criterium. After being called on the line as one of the last team of this 144 cyclists pack, a major crash happened in the neutral lap leaving at least 40 riders off the back before the race was even started (and know, they did not neutreulized the race any longer for this incident). Still making their way up the bunch, 4 of our riders suffered the consequences of this major spill. Jamie Lamb, Kirk Emery, Justin St-Onge, and Craig de Geir suffered, while Chris Graham and Christian Meier kept on going in this incredibly fast neutral lap.
With a cash prize sprint every odd laps and a 5 riders elimination rule on even laps, only 84 riders crossed the finish line including Christian Meier; Chris Graham was pulled out on the 4th out of 7 laps. Saturn's Norman Meerkerk took the final as well as the first brown jersey of the 2002 edition of the Tour de l'Abitibi.
On the first official stage, the Team Time Trial, our young riders, although in good physical condition, were still a bit shaken by all these events. We managed to ride a time of 24:37 over 17.4 km. This time being off the pace of the big guns but we are still awaiting the final results at this time (we are about 2:30 behind).
Later this evening, the riders will be faced with a 55 km criterium in downtown Val-d'Or. It should be another fast one where our young team will hopefully be able to gain more experience and start showing some of their strong abilities. Considering having a full team from the Atlantic provinces for the first time in 15 years and the fact that our team is composed out of 4 first year riders (and none of them have ever been here), we are still confident things will turn around.
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