June 07, 2013 (La Baie, QC) – French Alexis Gougeard came out victorious of the Coupe des Nations-Ville de Saguenay’s opening stage, on Friday, at La Baie. By beating his breakaway companions, the 20-years-old athlete also claimed the yellow leader’s jersey and the best sprinter green jersey. Colombian Diego Antonio Ochoa Carmago and Kazak Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev fought hard until the end to claim the second and third spot.
After three laps, about 20 riders escaped. A chase group got organized around mid-race, but all was in vain. Indeed, the intercalated group never made the junction. Many members of the leading group tried to escape. All attempts were however counteracted by the rest of the fugitives. Behind, the pursuit lead to many splitting ups.
The outcome of the 151 km race was determined by a sprint fought by 9 riders. Antoine Duchesne, from Québec, registered the best Canadian result with a ninth place.
“I wasn’t the strongest of the group, said the modest winner. I waited until the last moment and went for the sprint. I am obviously satisfied with the result. We all had carte blanche. There was no designated leader” he explained regarding his team’s strategy.
Is he confident in his chances of retaining the coveted yellow jersey? “I don’t know how things will go, but we’ll need to be strong. It’s not over yet!” concluded the athlete who participates to this event for the second time.
Columbian Ever Alexander Rivera Guerrero claimed the polka dot jersey of best climber, while Italian Federico Zurlo grasped the white jersey of best young rider.
Action begins again on Saturday. The competitors will then be in action in Jonquière, where teams will ride 141 kilometers.
1. Alexis Gougeard (France) 3:36:44
2. Diego Antonio Ochoa Carmago (Colombia)
3. Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev (Kazakstan)
9. Antoine Duchesne (Canada)
Full results HERE.