October 25, 2005 – It was cold and had rained for most of the previous week. Only in Quebec would that inspire a bumper-crop of cyclo-crossers for the Quebec Provincial Championships, the seventh and final race in the Quebec Cup series. The Marcotte Family crafted another challenging route – a two loop combo – the first half a repeat of Stage X’s rooty rocky single track with a leg-breaking run-up leading to a steep pitch, another obstacle, and the some fast gravel double-track. After passing some adoring fans, ‘crossers then entered the “second loop” circling a sandpit and bypassing the dreaded-adored Under the Bridge Cranium Crusher (removed from the course due to safety concerns). After a brief sojourn into more single track, riders climbed a short and spicy pitch leading to an equally steep descent, to be greeted by another brutal climb just in time to race past chilled, but smiling commissaries.
In the women’s race, technical problems hampered Marie-Pier Bedard’s (Espoirs Laval) quest for the coveted Provincial Jersey. The muddy and rocky trail ate up Bedard’s bike to such a degree that the series leader had to retire before the end of the race. The battle for the jersey was then left to Caroline Lavoie (Biogen-Idec) and Joanie Caron (Elicycle – Louis Garneau) who shadowed each other throughout the race, providing spectators with a thrill. Lavoie pulled away at the line to grab the jersey in 40 minutes 12 seconds, with Caron coming in a slim six seconds later. ‘Cross newbie, Karine Travaillaud (Les Franc Coureurs), came in one minute later for a well-earned third place.
In the Men’s race, reigning Provincial Cross Champion (since 2002), Benoit Simard (Perigny), charged off to an early lead, and stayed away the rest of the race. Keeping a hearty distance from the competition was a good plan, as Alberta-transplant Paul Iganiuk (ERTC – Martin Swiss) marvelled “It was like we were floating. I thought I had a flat it was so mushy in there.” Contender Luc Proulx (Xprezo) unfortunately lived that reality, suffering a flat that severely handicapped his performance in what was an otherwise brilliant season. Grabbing a second-place finish was David Gagnon (Sportif Bromont). Pleased with his performance and ever the gentleman, he complimented the other riders, “I was surprised by the calibre of riders here today. I had to battle it out for second place!” Alexandre Frappier (Biogen Idec) capped off his season with a thrilling third place.
In the Master’s Championship, Pascal BussiÃ¨res (Biogen Idec) won the 2005 jersey, cruising across the line just after Senior rider Gagnon – causing some confusion – but to great cheers of “BAAABUSSS!!!!” Second place went to StÃ©phane Marcoux (Vincent Renaud) who was flanked by Pierre Boilard (Biogen Idec). Quote of the day goes to Masters contender Louis-David Jobin (Xprezo), who while covered entirely in mud exclaimed with a smirk “That was not agreeable!”
Congratulations to all the lucky and skillful winners who get to dirty-up the Quebec Provincial Jersey for the remainder of 2005 and upcoming 2006 cross season!
FÃ©licitations Ã tous, prennez bien soins de vous-mÃªmes et Ã la saison prochaine!
1. Benoit Simard – Perigny
2. David Gagnon – Sportif Bromont
3. Alexandre Frappier – Biogen Idec
1. Caroline Lavoie – Biogen Idec
2. Joanie Caron – Elicycle / Louis Garneau
3. Karine Travaillaud – Les Franc Coureurs
1. Pascal BussiÃ¨res – Biogen Idec
2. StÃ©phane Marcoux – Vincent Renaud
3. Pierre Boilard – Biogen Idec
1. Jean-Christophe Lacasse
2. Justin Lacasse
3. Alex Landsman – Martin Swiss Cyclocross