June 19, 2016 (Saint Georges, Que.) – US National Champion Gregory Daniel of Axeon Hagens Berman was crowned winner of the 31st Tour de Beauce winning the final 122.4km Stage 5 Circuit race in Saint Georges as he out-sprinted Team Canada’s Hugo Houle for the win. Houle finished second overall his best result at Beauce having finished third in 2012.
Daniel, a U23 rider confirmed his domination winning the yellow (GC), white (Points) and red (Best Young Rider) jerseys. Robin Carpenter (USA) Holowesko / Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportwear, who was 4th on the stage, claimed the final overall podium spot in 3rd. His teammate Robert Squire (USA) won the KOM Polka Dot Mountain Classification jersey while the squad earned the Team Classification.
The action began early as five riders with four Canucks escaped on the second of 12 laps of a 10.2km circuit that included one big climb. Rob Britton (Rally), Ryan Anderson (Team Canada), Matteo Dal-Cin (Silber Pro), Alexis Cartier (Garneau Quebecor) and American Joshua Berry (Jelly Belly) tested the peloton’s legs.
When the gap reached 2 min Daniel’s Axeon team upped the pace as Britton was now the virtual leader. Berry was dropped as Canada’s Jordan Cheyne (Jelly Belly) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Lupus Racing bridged. The gap was cut in half with the fast tempo as riders were shed as well.
Houle tried in vain to drop his rival but Daniel was able to counter each move with a strong team to support him. As the break was caught with three to go only Vaubourzeix remained away as he too was enveloped.
A picture is worth a thousand words and the final duel between the Houle and Daniel was a fitting climax to the week of racing that encompassed 644km as a dozen or more riders made the final selection.
Unable to drop his main rival, the Quebec-native Houle launched his sprint with 300 meters to go while Daniel was well sheltered on his wheel and came around him to take the win by a few bike lengths. Diego Milan Jimenz (Dom) Inteja-MMR Dominican Cycling Team took 3rd on the stage, followed by Carpenter in 4th and reigning Canadian crit champ Benjamin Perry (Can) Silber Pro Cycling in 5th.
“My best chance was to use them to the fullest before attacking them. With two laps to go, Daniel still had four teammates rolling with him. In the end, I was not strong enough break free. We are at the same level but he had a strong team. I really did the maximum I had. If I had taken the yellow jersey in the time trail, his whole team would have attacked me repeatedly and I would have lost everything,” said Houle.
With Robert Britton (Can) Rally Cycling finishing 7th overall, Alex Cataford (Can) Silber Pro Cycling 9th and David Boily (Can) Garneau Quebecor 10th there were four Canucks in the top 10 GC standings.
Boily is the revelation at this year’s Tour and his 10th place overall finish is even more special as he comes from the Beauce region. “It was difficult but I am happy with my week. I’ll be back next year,” added the young rider.