June 11, 2013 (St-Georges, QC) – Jasper Stuyven (Bel) of Bontrager Cycling Team took the victory in the sprint finish on the first stage of the 2013 Tour de Beauce, crossing the line just ahead of Canada’s Guillaume Boivin (Canadian National Team) and Italy’s Andrea Perron (Team Novo Nordisk).
In addition to earning the Desjardins Yellow Jersey as race leader, Stuyven also grabbed the Georgesville Red Jersey and the Hydro-Québec White Jersey, awarded respectively to the Best Young Rider and Points Classification leader.
Early on the race, after 13 kilometers of racing on this 165-kilometre circuit, two riders attacked and formed a breakaway. Alex Cataford of Garneau-Quebecor and James Stemper of 5-Hr Energy rode together for more than 150km before getting caught by the peloton to set-up the finishing sprint. Cataford won the opening two Points sprints, while Stemper took the two King of Mountain sprints to earn the Rocky Mountain Polka Dot Jersey.
The two-man break carved out a lead of over 9:20 by the 82-km mark, but the peloton was stacked with power and decided to control the lead and eventually bring back the two escapees with just 5km to go.
Stuyven was obviously pleased with the victory to open this 28th edition of the Tour de Beauce. “I am happy with my sprint. In sprint finishes, it’s all about positioning. The break had a big gap, but we were watching it. There are some big teams here with lots of power, so weren’t nervous.
“Big thanks to my teammates, who rode really well today and covered all the moves in the last five kilometers. There are a lot of fast guys in the sprint. It was raining hard in the last 20 kilometres, and that probably contributed to the crashes. But that is cycling,” added Stuyven.
Stuyven, who is racing his first Tour de Beauce, will be looking to defend his yellow jersey in the second stage, a 152-kilometre race in Thetford Mines, however, the young cyclist from Belgium admitted climbing is not a strength of his. “I am looking to defend tomorrow, but climbing is not my strength, so keeping it the whole week may not be in the cards for me.”
Boivin of the Canadian National Team settled for second place. A sprinter by nature, he had several mechanical issues including a broken saddle, which forced him to seek out his team car in the caravan to get replacement bikes and repair some issues.
“My saddle broke, and I had to go back a few times to the caravan. I had to race on a spare bike for a few kilometres, a bike I was not used to riding,” commented Boivin. “That being said, that’s part of racing, and the guys have done a great job to set me up for the sprint. I had a good sprint to finish the race and tomorrow is looking good as well.
“Stuyven is a pretty strong rider. He may be young, but he has a promising future. This was the first sprint finish for me in almost one year. I’ll try to find my sprint legs back and tomorrow may be better as it’s a course that suits me well. The guys here did an excellent job all day. Nic Hamilton was at the front of the peloton all day. It’s not always easy with National Team projects to come and gel as a team, but I feel we have a great atmosphere at Beauce… so the rest of the week should be better for us.”
Boivin has been riding in Europe throughout the spring with his UCI WorldTour team, Cannondale Pro Cycling, and was happy to be racing back home. “It feels good to come back and race the roads of Québec. I am familiar with the environment. This is my third Tour de Beauce and I know the roads well.”
The 2013 Tour de Beauce continues on June 12, with a 152-km race in Thetford Mines.
Full results HERE.