Britton Wins Final Stage as Flaksis Takes Suprise GC Victory at 32nd Tour de Beauce with Cheyne 3rd Overall + Interview
June 18, 2017 (Saint-Georges, Que.) – In a surprise final Stage 5 it was Latvia’s Andzs Flaksis of the Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Racing team who claimed the overall and the yellow jersey at the 32nd Tour de Beauce.
Canada’s Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) ruled the final 122.4 km 12-lap final stage with a decisive victory to finish 20th overall for his first victory this season and his career-first stage win at the Tour de Beauce.
Fellow Canuck Jordan Cheyne (Jelly Belly), who was poised to challenge for the yellow jersey, ended up third overall behind Clement Russo (Fra) Team St-Étienne P/B Probikeshop who claimed second and the Best Young Rider’s jersey as well. Jack Burke (Can) Aevolo, also in the running at the start of the stage in third on the GC, finished fourth overall.
In crushing heat the attacks came early putting Yellow Jersey holder Alec Cowan and his Silber team on notice as they struggled to keep pace. A dozen riders formed a strong break which quickly became 16-strong followed by 12 chasers as Cowan and Silber were further back and trying to put on a brave face.
Meanwhile Britton was pushing the pace at the front and the writing was on the wall as it can be on the final stage here. The 12 chasers merged with the leaders and now 28 riders were leading by the half way mark with 3 minutes on the yellow jersey and it was game over – but more suprises were still to come.
Britton was on a mission and with five laps to go attacked with Gavin Mannion (USA) United Healthcare as a small chase group formed behind with teammates Flaksis and Robin Carpenter (USA) along with Diego Milan Jimenez (Dom) Inteja Dominican Cycling Team, as Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Canyon Bicycle bridged up to them.
The complexion of the race was changing rapidly and the calculations began – suddenly Flaksis who was 8th at the start of the stage became the unlikely contender for the overall as Cheyne kept losing time.
Britton dropped Mannion and even lapped the bruised Silber squad as he powered away for a solo victory – his first of the season and a career-first at Beauce. A motivated Russo attacked near the end to take fourth on the stage and eclipse Cheyne for second overall.
“I have been trying to get this win, on this course, for four or five years and to do it the way I did was amazing,” said Britton. “It was extra special to do it on Father’s Day knowing my dad would be watching it at home. It was tough to lose so many guys through the week, but each day we came together and managed to salvage a great race after some pretty brutal luck early on.
The final jerseys were now decided with yellow for Flaksis, white for Carpenter and polka dot for Nigel Ellsay (Can) Silber as the team salvaged some honour for their hard-earned earlier efforts. Canyon took the Team Classification.
Cowan ended up 11th while fellow Canadian Burke stood at the foot of the podium by a handful of seconds in fourth. Reigning Canadian road champ, Bruno Langlois (Can) Garneau Quebecor, at this 19th Tour finished 10th on the final stage and 8th overall. Not bad for a rider pushing 40.