Days 1 and 2
Stage One was a 350m two up sprint, a spectacle more than anything. Having
had a decent warm up things didn`t go so well but not to worry it wasn`t
Today, Stage 2 (June 18/02), the real racing started with a 162 km
race. Today was also the Commonwealth Games selection day. First Canadian
across the line was to go. Unlike most years we started out pretty mellow
and it stayed that way for the first 60km or so. Other than a 2-up break
nothing much was happening other than crashes and flats. The roads here in
Beauce are atrocious, getting worse each time I come back. Left, right and
center there were
potholes and it was definitely a case of keeping your eyes open.
Unfortunately there were a few crashes — never good to see.
At the 70km mark things started to heat up and at 90km the race was
full on. Unmarked on the profile or in the KOMs was the climb out of St.
Joseph. Not only is the climb steep but just before running into town
there’s a 150m
wooden bridge, the slats run parallel to the way we`re riding. We weren’t
the only team that was aware of this and it was a bit of a battle in the
cross winds to get onto the bridge first. Beauce had started for real.
From St. Joseph onward the course is constantly rolling and the
attacks were coming and going. At one point there was a break composed
almost fully of Canucks and they were going pretty well, but its tough to
stay away. A head
wind detered attacks as well but with 40km to go I had a little dig to see
what would happen. The break that would stay away to the finish was up the
raod by a minute and there I was in between. Come the crunch the legs
weren’t as good as I had hoped but I still figured it was worth a try. It
was unlikely that I’d beat Gord in the sprint. After a couple of kms it
didn’t look like I was getting across any time soon and the pack was
rolling up behind so I shut it down and waited for the finish.
From there to the finish it was predominantly downhill and Mercury
took over the lead out. Bumping and pushing we caming shooting off the
final downhill into town where the was a series of corners before the
finish. Things were going well but I got caught behind a couple of guys
coming back from the lead out and that was my sprint done. Bummer! I think
I was somewhere in the top 20 but will have to have another dig tomorrow.
Assuming the legs are good….
As always its awesome to be back in Beauce. This is a world class
race and its in Canada so what a blast. Seven years and counting, I hope
I’ll be back next year for number eight. Catch everyone tomorrow.
Andrew Randell is a 28-year-old professional cyclist with the Canadian
Sympatico-Jetfuel team. This is his seventh time riding the Grand Prix de