Posted by Editoress on 06/13/15
Stage 3 of the Tour de Beauce saw another change in the overall lead, the third in as many days, with defending champion Tom Skujins (Hincapie Racing) replacing Stage 2 winner Amets Txurruka (Caja Rural) in the yellow jersey. It was a double stage day, with Brendan Canty (Budget Forklifts) winning the morning time trial, and Guillaume Boivin (Optum) taking a popular local win in the evening criterium, in front of family and friends.
The 21 kilometre time trial was on a brand new course, using a section of new, unopened divided highway. It proved to be a lot tougher than many riders expected, with strong gusting winds and four sizable climbs.
Canty, at 20 riders to go, set the first sub-29 minute time, at 28:47. Eight riders later, Jordan Cheyne (Ride with Rendall) came in 12 seconds slower, and then Ryan Roth (Silber Pro Cycling) knocked five seconds ahead of Cheyne to take second.
Skujins could only manage seventh, 32 seconds off the winning time, but it was enough to erase the 19 second deficit to Txurruka, after the Spaniard suffered a flat in the final two kilometres of his ride. Pello Bilbao, team mate to Txurruka slots into second overall after finishing 11th in the time trial.
"It was enough to take the yellow jersey, which was the goal," said Skujins. "I'm not the greatest time trialer, so I'm just happy it was enough."
The criterium, held in downtown St-Georges, is an institution at the race, but has not been held for a few years, since the format does not meet the criteria of a UCI stage race. However, for this 30th anniversary of the Tour de Beauce, the organizers were given permission to include it.
The four corner, 1.5 kilometre circuit features a long finishing straight followed by a short, steep climb to the backside long straight and then a fast descent to the finishing road.
Boivin was aggressive from the gun, trying to get a break going and, within seven laps, he was clear with Matteo Dal-Cin (Silber) and Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts). A couple of laps later Lachlyn Morton (Jelly Belly) bridged across and the break was set.
Hincapie and Caja Rural were content to let it go and just set tempo at the front of the pack. The gap stretched out to 40 seconds with ten laps to go, but then started to shrink, and was only 13 seconds by the finish.
The lead group worked well together right to the end. Bobridge led through the final corner and Boivin had to come around him to win by less than a quarter of a wheel at the line. Dal-Cin took third.
"I thought Hincapie would let a break ago," explained Boivin, "so I tried really hard in the first laps. If it hadn't happened within 10 laps then I was just going to back off and wait for the field sprint. Bobridge was really strong, and I had to come by him on the outside, around the curve to the finish, and I wasn't sure until the end I was going to make it. I was very motivated, because my family was here and I wanted to perform well."
The criterium had no impact on the General Classification, with Skujins leading Bilbao by ten seconds, Txurruka by 13, Dion Smith (Hincapie) by 17 seconds and Roth by 22 seconds. Smith keeps the Best Young Rider Jersey but loses the Points Jersey to Eduard Prades (Caja Rural) after the criterium.