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Tour de Beauce Stage 2 Report, PHOTOS

report by the Tour de Beauce

June 12, 2013 (St-Georges, QC) – Guillaume Boivin of the Canadian National Team won the second stage of the Tour De Beauce, taking the final sprint thanks to the excellent work done by the “Canadian Blue Train” in the last three kilometres and in the last lap of the final circuit in Thetford Mines.

With the victory, Boivin earned himself the right to wear the Desjardins Yellow Jersey in tomorrow’s stage as the race leader. Boivin also takes the Hydro-Quebec White Jersey as Points leader.

“The guys of the National Team rode so well together today. Today, we knew that we had the legs and took the lead on the last lap. We had 45 seconds to close on the last lap, and that’s very hard to bring back. The team is united, and in the end worked together for our objectives. Dominique Rollin, Nic Hamilton and Christian Meier worked extremely hard today at the front to bring back the group. Big credits to these guys for this win,” said Boivin after the race.

“I wasn’t thinking too much about the Yellow Jersey before coming here. I told myself that almost all of the professional cyclists in Canada have won a stage at the Tour de Beauce. This is a strong and good race for Canadian riders. I told myself I needed this [a stage win at Beauce] on my palmares, and I am very thrilled to add this victory.”

Early in the race and after a few attempts to break the peloton, a group of three riders – Robert Sweeting of 5-HR Energy, Jonathan McCarty of Bissel Pro Cycling and Joseph Rosskopf of Hincapie Sportswear  Development Cycling Team – took off in a breakaway that lasted until the last 500m of the race. The break, which managed to increase its gap to 3:25, rode nicely together, and kept their cool throughout the very hilly course, almost making it to the finish line alone.

After racing solo for over 125 kilometers alone the small break had the finish line in sight with 3km to go. But on the last lap of the 3.7-kilometre urban circuit the three escapees were caught.

During the last two laps, the Canadian National Team, with an all-star crew, along with the Bontrager Cycling Team were both very active at the front of the peloton. Team Canada had Boivin’s sprint abilities in mind, while Bontrager tried to position Jasper Stuyven, in the yellow jersey, for the sprint.

Ultimately, it was Boivin, wearing the Hydro-Québec White Jersey on the day, who crossed the line first, followed by Matthias Friedemann of Champion System Pro Cycling with Stuyven taking third.

This victory was a big relief for Boivin, who finally won his first race since the fall of 2010, the year he won the bronze medal at the UCI World Championships U23 road race. “I hope this will remove pressure for my shoulders and give me confidence for the future. It’s my first win since my knee injury.”

Similar to yesterday’s race, today was a day filled with mechanical issues and obstacles for the Canadian rider. “Today was not an easy day. Again, I had a few mechanical issues early on. Coming back in the caravan at one time, I was following a car, and the caravan suddenly stopped as I was behind the Bontrager car. I collided with the car, but managed to hold on to the back of the car, unclipped and kept my bike upright. I was able to put this incident behind me as there was not much more I could do. I also crashed in the last 20 kilometers. But I managed to come back for the sprint.”

But wearing the yellow jersey could be short-lived for Boivin, who is not known to be a strong climber, an essential skillset needed for the third and difficult stage at the Tour de Beauce. “Mégantic is not my strength. Perhaps we will see another rider on the Canadian Team winning the yellow. Tomorrow, I’ll work for my teammates, be the best I can be for them, all the way up to the base of the climb, as much as I can do. I owe it to them.”

Gord Fraser, the Directeur Sportif for the Canadian Team, was proud of the way the team rode today:

“Guillaume had a lot of adversity yesterday and today. Thanks to Axel, the Directeur of the Bontrager Team for some extremely safe driving after a sudden stop in the caravan. He was very calm, and managed to save one of my riders. Today, Guillaume needed to win. For him, and for the program. Yellow will look good on Guillaume. That being said, we apologize to Louis Garneau, as they produced a great new design that the team is wearing today, and now we have to swap blue to yellow. We like the new jersey…but we like the yellow much better!”

Tomorrow, the third stage is a 164-kilometre race from St-Georges to Mont Mégantic, with a very challenging climb.

Full results HERE.

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