June 6, 2005 – The whole Symmetrics team knew Sunday was going to be a hard test. The course was only 120km but with 7,500 ft of climbing that started after a 30 km descent into the valley there was a large amount of climbing over the last 90km of racing. They also knew that teams would start to work together to try and isolate Tuft from the remainder of the Symmetrics team. The race plan was to keep the tempo high and keep control of all moves. Sure enough attacks started from the gun and six riders went on the descent into the valley. Andrew Pinfold covered the move and because all were no GC threat they were essentially ignored and Pinfold was there to go after KOM points and make sure the move didn’t become a threat.
On the first climb the team rode a hard tempo at the front and soon had riders from the early break coming back. They crested the first climb under control with three riders (including Pinfold still up the road). The second of three major climbs is when Moniger & England (Healthnet), Trebon & Wicks (Kona Les Gets) and Bajadali (Vitamin Cottage) started to attack. The pitches hit 15% and the race started to come apart but Tuft was able to follow wheels and ride steady tempo.
As the stage progressed the weather began to deteriorate with snow starting to fall at the higher elevations. The team stayed together and rode a hard tempo and by the time they reached the top of the second climb they had pulled Moniger, England, Bajidali, Wick, and Trebon back and by that time Pinfold had come back from the front group and was working with Tuft. The descent was sketchy because of the cold slippery conditions but the team arrived at the base of the final climb as a complete unit.
With the steady tempo control by the Symmetrics squad the main GC contenders began to throw in the towel at launching any attacks that would stick. With 2km to go Christian Meier did his last hard pull and Tuft took over. A few small attacks were launched which were ignored and England won the stage and Tuft rolling in approx 30 seconds down.
In an interview after the race Tuft was very excited to have won his first NRC GC. “I have won stages before but I have never been given the opportunity to be the GC guy until I signed with Symmetrics. I was always the workhorse chasing down breaks. It was such a great experience to have a whole team protecting me throughout the race. The only time I had to ride in the wind was in the TT’s and the last few km’s today. We decided to come to this race to prepare for Beauce. This year we feel Beauce will favour the TT specialists and this race had both a prologue and a hard TT. We had five riders in the top nine of the TT yesterday so we feel confident going into the most important stage race of our schedule starting next week,” commented Tuft.
“I can’t wait to get back to Quebec as Beauce is a race we all love and we want to do our very best this year. It is a major focus of our team and we have been holding back our training to peak for this time of year. When you are a small roster like we are you need to stay focused on fewer races. It is the time of the year where we need to be at our best. This race was a great confidence boost for all of us,” Tuft continued.
PRO MEN 5 STAGES / 200 MILES
1. Svein Tuft Langley, BC Symmetrics, 7:47:11
2. Andy Bajidali Boulder, CO Vitamin Cottage, 7:48:14
3. John Hunt Fairfax , CA Cal Giant / Village Peddler, 7:49:28
PRO WOMEN 5 STAGES / 175 MILES
1. Leah Goldstein Vancouver , BC Trek/Red Truck Beer, 8:15:37
2. Chrissy Ruiter Bend , OR Ford-Basis, 8:17:18
3. Irene Mercer Durango, CO Tamarack, 8:18:53