Posted by Editoress on 06/18/03
Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce: Stage 2
This report made possible through the sponsorship of Evolution by Oryx
John Lieswyn (7 Up-Maxxis) survived a scare in the final 1500 meters of stage 2 at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce to retain the overall leader's jersey, while Oleg Grishkine (Navigators) took the stage win ahead of local favourite Charles Dionne (Canadian National).
The 169 kilometer stage through the rolling countryside south of Quebec City unfolded as expected, with a break of 5 riders going clear 6 kilometers into the race. Jindrich Vana (Ed's System - ZVVZ) and Trent Wilson (Flanders - Iteamnova.com) started the break, and were quickly joined by Cam Evans (Canadian National), Jeff Hansen (Atlas Cold Storage - Italpasta) and Burke Swindlehurst (Navigators). The grouped worked steadily together under a hot sun, establishing a maximum lead of just over 5 minutes by the halfway point.
Behind, 7 Up-Maxxis were just riding tempo, although Lieswyn admitted that he may have worked his team a little harder than needed to keep a leash on the leaders. "We had no concerns, and I think that the guys went a little too hard - we could have given them 7 minutes, since they came back so quickly at the end."
The break began to falter in the final 40 kilometers, and as the riders entered the final 8.5 kilometer finishing circuit for 3 laps, the lead was down to 1:22. Gord Fraser's Healthnet squad had come to the front to help 7 Up, and set up their sprinter, and they closed on the leaders quickly. All but Swindlehurst were gobbled up halfway through the first of the laps, with the Navigators rider holding on for another lap before he too was absorbed.
19 year old Cam Evans was a strong member of the break, the longest of his racing career. "I bridged up with Navigators, and we all worked really well together, establishing a good rhythm. But with 40 K to go everyone started getting tired, and we could see the gap coming down fast, so we knew it was only a matter of time."
At this point, all Lieswyn had to finish in the pack, however, a crash 1.5 kilometers out split the field, with the Yellow jersey caught on the wrong side of the accident. "I was gapped a bit, and had to really push it to get back on."
Not so lucky was Eric Wohlberg (Canadian National), fourth overall. He came to a stop, and then couldn't get back on before the finish. Luckily for him and the rest of the peloton, the officials decided to credit them with the same time as the winner.
"Our team rode well today, and in the last 15 kilometers we worked to put Charles (Dionne) in a good position for the sprint. I was caught behind a crash in the last 1500 meters, and it was just lucky that i did not lose any time in the overall standings."
In the finish it was a straight drag race between Grishkine and Dionne, with the Russian leading all the way to the line. Dionne admitted to some pressure, but felt that he had ridden the best race he could: "It was very fast at the finish. I was following Grishkine and gave it everything that I had in the last 1200 meters, but I could not pass him. For sure there was pressure on me, with all my family and the local media watching, and I wanted to put on a good show, so I am very pleased to have had a good finish."
Grishkine wasn't even sure that he was the designated rider for Navigators, since the team also had Vasili Davidenko on tap. But Davidenko went down in the crash, and Grishkine became the Navigators man, giving the team a win to go with yesterday's second by Chris Baldwin.
Beauce continues on Thursday with a hard, hilly 151 kilometer stage near Lac Etchemin. Henk Vogels (at the time Mercury) won this stage in a two rider breakaway with Svein Tuft (at the time Canadian National) in 2001, and took the overall lead in the race, eventually winning Beauce.
- The stage started at Dionne's old school, in St-Redempteur.
- Gord Fraser had a disappointing finish, boxed in "when ZVVZ bogged down with 400 meters to go. It was pretty frustrating, but I'm not going that strong right now anyways. This is my first race in nearly a month, so I feel like I'm almost starting from Ground Zero."
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