Posted by Editor on 06/14/05
A local Quebec rider, riding for a local Quebec squad won the first stage of the Tour de Beauce, despite the presence of top U.S. teams such as Navigators, Health Net and Jittery Joe's. Martin Gilbert (VW-Trek) took the leader's jersey after winning the sprint out of select group of 14 riders who finished just under a minute ahead of the peloton.
The 169 kilometre stage started in light rain, and overcast skies dogged the race all day. The stage featured the long, rolling climbs which the region is famous for. Jean Sebastien Beland (Equipe Quebec) started the action in the first few kilometres, and was followed shortly afterwards by Tomasz Lesniak (Paged-MBK-Scout), and then Jiri Pospisil (Stevens). Lesniak eventually dropped back to the main peloton, but Pospisil joined Beland, and the duo stayed away until the fist KoM of the day, when they were finally reeled in shortly before the 80 kilometre mark.
Gilbert's team mate, Alexandre Cloutier (VW-Trek) made the next attempt, 100 kilometres into the race, and quickly carved out a three minute lead. However, riders were finally starting to wake up in the pack, and a group of 13 peeled off the front and scooped up the fading Cloutier 113 kilometres into the stage.
This was a serious move, containing previous Beauce winner John Lieswyn (Health Net), Mark Walters (Navigators), Svein Tuft (Symmetrics), Dominique Rollin (Equipe Quebec), Jeff Louder (Navigators), David O'Loughlin (Navigators), Domenico Passuello (Amore & Vita Ã‹â€ Beretta), David Krupa (Paged-MBK-Scout) Przemyslaw Mikolajczyk (Paged-MBK-Scout), Tom Barras (Cyclingnews.com), Thorben Wieditz (Le Yeti), Glen Alan Chadwick (Cyclingnews.com), Gilbert and Cloutier.
The group, propeled by Navigators, took the gap to over two minutes but Team Canada and Jittery Joe's, who missed the move, were pushing hard behind, and brought it back to a minute by the time the race re-entered St Georges. Gilbert attacked out of the final corner to take the victory, and the yellow jersey of race leader. Vassili Davidenko (Navigators) led the field home, 57 seconds later.
"I wanted to attack in the final corner, everyone was being more careful." explained Gilbert. "I looked back and saw that I had a little gap, so I kept going. This is a very good win for me and our team."
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