Posted by Editor on 06/23/01
Scott Moninger won the sixth stage of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce stage race on Friday, moving into second overall behind his Mercury team mate Henk Vogels. Eugen Wacker (Mroz-Supradyn Witaminy) was second on the stage, half a second back, and John Leiswyn (7Up-Colorado Cyclist) was third.
The sixth stage was a 15 kilometre individual time trial in the town of St Georges de Beauce, and Moninger was the favourite, having won the same stage in 2000. "I really wanted to try to move into second overall before tomorrow's final stage. It is crucial for us to have two riders in good position, so that we have a back up if anything happens to one of us."
The out and back course was up all the way out and down all the way back. Moninger used a 56x17 on the climb and spun out a 56x11 returning. "There were sections where I was just tucked and coasting. It was so fast, 65-70 kilometre an hour."
The win cuts Vogels' lead to 45 seconds, with Zbigniew Piatek (Mroz-Supradyn Witaminy) third 1:11 back and Michael Barry (Saturn) in fourth at 1:33.
Vogels had a strong ride to finish 9th on the stage, despite a flattening tire for the final kilometre and a near miss with a security vehicle on the course. The vehicle had stopped just before a corner to speak with a marshal, and Vogels came around at 60 plus kilometres an hour, swerving at the last second and missing the van "by millimetres."
The softening tire meant that the race leader had to brake in the final 7 corners to keep upright.
The race was supposed to continue in the evening with a 40 lap criterium, however, a rider protest led by Vogels turned it into a mostly ceremonial parade. Rain made the roads slippery and the yellow jersey went to the front on the first lap after a crash and got agreement from other major teams (Mapei, Saturn, Mroz) not to race.
The riders stopped after one lap and organizers negotiated a 20 lap 'race' that would not count on GC, so that the spectators who had turned up for this traditional crowd pleaser would not go away empty handed. The plan was to allow those who wanted to, to race the last 5 laps.
"There were three crashes in the first lap - we would have had guys ending up in the hospital. Two of the corners are off-camber, and the oil made it very, very slippery. I just went straight to the front and told the guys 'We're not going to race.' "
Privately there was grumbling among some riders and directors, but the agreeement was enforced by the top teams whenever someone attempted to go off the front. When they did finally start to race, Trent Klasna (Saturn) took the win ahead of Cesare Diciento (Cantina Tollo) and Andrew Pinfold (Team Canada).
The Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce concludes on Sunday with a tough164 kilometre circuit race, which has the potential to completely upset the general classification.
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