Posted by Editoress on 09/5/14
Belgium's Sep Vanmarcke of Belkin-Pro Cycling outsprinted Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas of Garmin-Sharp and Australia's Leigh Howard of Orica-GreenEDGE to win Stage 3 on Friday in the Tour of Alberta, presented by ATB Financial.
Vanmarcke admitted the 156 kilometre stage from Wetaskiwin to Edmonton Garrrision felt like a kermasse in his home country, as crosswinds lashed the field of world-class riders on flat roads outside of Edmonton, splintering the field by the finish.
"We were going full gas, and maybe going 30 kilometres per hour," said Vanmarke, one of the world's top one-day riders. "The wind played a big factor in the race. This is my first time racing in North America, in the United States or Canada and didn't know what to expect. It felt a bit like home today."
That "home court advantage" seemed to favor the big, powerful riders from northern Europe and Australia, including The Netherlands's Tom Dumoulin of Team Giant-Shimano, who finished in the second group and retained his overall lead over German Ruben Zepuntke of the Bissell Development Team.
"Belkin and Orica-GreenEDGE did a pacemaking today," said Dumoulin, adding that it didn't make the race any easier for him and his teammates. "These races are very fast. It's been a very competitive race. Everyone wants to win a stage. I'm very glad to remain in the (leader's) jersey."
Several breakaways went clear before a group of 42 entered the Edmonton Garrison base north of Edmonton for three, flat final circuits, ending on an airstrip, including Team Canada's Ben Perry. Perry, the U23 Canadian Champion, managed to take off solo for 10 kilometres of racing, with Matteo Dal-Cin (Ottawa, ON) of Silber Pro Cycling soon joining him. The Canadian duo rode together and created a gap of over a minute. Eventually, the two were caught by two chasing riders, and then shortly after the whole peloton.
"I was looking just to get in the breakaway and get some exposure. I was in a group of about 15 guys, and then Giant-Shimano came back and chased us. I counter-attacked the move and spent about 10 kilometres all by myself," said Perry, who is racing his career first professional race. "Matteo [Dal-Cin] joined me, and then two more guys caught up. The four of us worked together, but then we hit a strong crosswinds section, ideal for the WorldTour guys to chase us down which totally destroyed our lead."
The crosswinds "were hard" admitted Perry. "It didn't feel overly windy. When guys ride as fast as they do, they put the whole peloton in the gutter. You can't do anything about it."
"The four days have been good. It's not very much different than racing in Belgium. The pros are just a lot more ruthless about letting you win. The attacks come much harder here," said Perry, of his first professional race.
The finishing circuit with variable winds split the group into several chase groups before Vanmarcke, Navardauskas, and Howard, all three World Tour level riders, went clear. Vanmarke was gunning for the stage win, while Navardauskas was trying to take away the overall lead from Dumoulin.
The final 200 metres contained a tight right hand turn, which Navardauskas said would make the stage winner.
"I knew when Sep got to the corner first, he would win," Navardauskas said. "He's a WorldTour rider who does good in the Classics (top one-day races in Europe). He's smart. It was difficult to get around him to the finish."
Navardauskas, however, gained valuable time on his competitors and elevated to third place overall with two days remaining in this year's Tour of Alberta. Romania's Serghei Tvetcov of Jelly Belly presented by MAXXIS fell to 4th place. Navardauskas's teammate Tom Danielson was the day's biggest loser, falling from 4th overall to 59th but did so in support of the big Lithuanian, who is in good position with a tough and hilly circuit race on the final day in Edmonton looming Sunday.
Zepuntke, the 21-year-old wunderkind, continues to impress some of the top cyclists on the international circuit, and remains within striking distance at 8-seconds behind Dumoulin.
Saturday's Stage 4 is the longest of this year's Tour of Alberta at 163-kilometres. It starts at Edmonton Northlands, next to the home of the Edmonton Oilers, and routes northeast to Fort Saskatchewan before heading south through a sprint line in Ardrossin, then around Cooking Lake before heading north to finish in Strathcona County. The race features six sections of "Canadian Pave" or "dust-controlled roads".
When told of the "Canadian Pave" at the post-race press conference, Vanmarcke, who finished 4thin 2014 and 2nd in the 2013 Paris-Roubaix, a famous one-day race in NorthernFrance notorious because of its rutted cobblestone sections, perked up.
"Pave? Big stones? Is it dangerous," he asked top Canadian Ryan Anderson, who is currently in 7th place overall and has trained on the roads around Edmonton, his hometown. Anderson, however, didn't provide an ample answer, only saying. "We'll see Saturday."
Combined reports: Tour of Alberta and Cycling Canada
Results from the fourth stage (top 10 + Canadians)
|Stage 3: Watskiwin to Edmonton Garrison, 158.9 km|
|1 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Belkin Pro Cycling Team||3:12:11|
|2 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp|
|3 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE||both s.t.|
|4 Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica GreenEDGE||0:11|
|5 Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp|
|6 Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team|
|7 Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|8 Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development Team|
|9 Nicky van der Lijke (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team|
|10 Nicolai Brochner (Den) Bissell Development Team|
|14 Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|19 Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling||all s.t.|
|38 Hugo Houle (Can) Canadian National Team||0:27|
|39 Zach Bell (Can) Team SmartStop|
|40 Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEDGE||both s.t.|
|58 Michael Woods (Can) 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda||1:28|
|59 Garrett McLeod (Can) Canadian National Team|
|65 Pierrick Naud (Can) Garneau - Québecor||both s.t.|
|77 Matteo Dal-Cin (Can) Silber Pro Cycling||6:47|
|78 Simon-Pierre Gauthier (Can) Garneau - Québecor|
|79 Adam de Vos (Can) Canadian National Team|
|91 Nigel Ellsay (Can) Silber Pro Cycling|
|93 Jordan Cheyne (Can) Canadian National Team|
|94 Benjamin Perry (Can) Canadian National Team|
|95 Nic Hamlton (Can) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|102 Bruno Langlois (Can) 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda|
|103 Stuart Wight (Can) Canadian National Team|
|104 Kristofer Dahl (Can) Team SmartStop|
|105 Benjamin Chaddock (Can) Garneau - Québecor|
|106 Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|108 Jean-Michel Lachance (Can) Silber Pro Cycling||all s.t.|
|111 William Goodfellow (Can) Silber Pro Cycling||14:56|
|112 Jean-Sebastian Perron (Can) Canadian National Team||s.t.|
|GC (Top 10 + CDN's in top 45)
|1 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Giant-Shimano||9:38:45|
|2 Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development Team||0:08|
|3 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp||0:13|
|4 Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:14|
|5 Leigh Howard (Aus) Orica GreenEDGE||0:15|
|6 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica GreenEDGE||s.t.|
|7 Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:16|
|8 Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team||0:18|
|9 James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development Team||0:23|
|10 Pieter Weening (Ned) Orica GreenEDGE||0:26|
|13 Christian Meier (Can) Orica GreenEDGE||0:39|
|27 Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling||1:04|
|29 Zach Bell (Can) Team SmartStop||1:19|
|34 Hugo Houle (Can) Canadian National Team||1:36|
|37 Michael Woods (Can) 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda||1:45|
|44 Garrett McLeod (Can) Canadian National Team||2:43|
|45 Pierrick Naud (Can) Garneau - Québecor||3:05|