The course was one of the most challenging in North America, with a distance ratio / higher elevation than Strade Bianche, the famous Italian Classic in Tuscany. The 132.5km route included 45 dirt road sections and over 2,700m of climbing.
Houle was surprised at the difficulty of the course. “It’s hard, very hard. The wind was a big factor, but the sequence of ascents was devastating,” said the St. Perpetua native. “At the halfway point, I already had burning thighs. Mike made the difference in the final climb and deserves the victory. ”
“I still have a lot of fun to participate in the Classic this year,” commented Piccoli, recent winner of the famous Green Mountain Stage Race in Vermont. “This is a very well organized race and, certainly, the most exciting on the Quebec calendar. With as much distance and difficulty, volunteers play a key role. I am already looking forward to next year.”
For master riders, there was a 116km course with around 30km of dirt road, for a total of 2,300m of climbing. Both courses ended with the same ascent as the pro / elite or 2.6km at 6.7% average. In the peloton Open Amateur A, Montréal’s Rowan Barrett (ABC Cannondale / Strava), known to possess almost all Strava segments of the island of Montreal, won top honors. On the side of the pack Amateur B, Ron Amos (Hammer 53×11) proved again edged him who won the Green Mountain Stage Race there two weeks. Finally, in women, Luce Bourbeau (SAS Macogep) managed to outrun her cronies to win her weight in maple syrup, like her male colleagues.
Participants exhausted but ecstatic
400 enthusiastic cyclists traveled the roads of Victoriaville and its region on Saturday. Over two sections, one recreational and one competitive, participants are given a field day on recognized landscapes as much for their beauty as for their difficulty. Fabien Roy, participating in the Gran Fondo, was very pleased with her experience. “This is a really well organized event. Volunteers are smiling and above all very friendly. The atmosphere at the summit of Mont Arthabaska was really exciting and adds to the course that are truly spectacular. Living the arrival of the riders and fondistes being ringside is memorable. I come back next year, for sure. ”
To reward the efforts of participants in the race, as the Gran Fondo, the organization had set up a festive finish atop Mont Arthabaska, with a terrace offering spectacular views of the area and the final meters leading to the line arrival of all courses. In addition, the creativity of the Black Bear pub, which has developed for the occasion a “calorie” menu with the already famous poutine deer braised, was featured, as well as beer specially brewed season session for event by the microbrewery Isle Garda. For the atmosphere? The folk-alternative groove Vocelle and The Crashroads assured throughout the afternoon.
1. Mike Woods (Cannondale Drapac) 3:42:15
2. Mathieu Jeannès (Team Lupus) 1:19
3. Hugo Houle (Ag2R La Mondiale) 1:48
4. James Piccoli (Lacombe/Devinci) 2:32
5. Timothy Austen (Ride with Rendall) 17:03
1. Jean-Denis Thibault (La Vie Sportive p/p Jean-Yves Labonté) 3:58:07
1. Luce Bourbeau (SAS Macogep Acquisio) 3:52:27
2. Jodi Wendland (Vélo Outaouais) 0:08
3. Allyson Gillard (TRJ Télécom Desjardins) 2:15
Full results here.