July 18, 2006 (Val-d’Or) – The 38th edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi, July 17-23, thrilled spectators with the opening Prologue that featured parallel sprint time trials. Canada’s Eric Smith from Alberta won the 400m event in 27.371 sec.
Rain and wind caused a delay for about 75 minutes but when the action began the speedy sprints and very tight finishes entertained spectators.
The times were so close that the last racers had to finish before the winner was declared. Smith was favoured as he is the Canadian junior ITT champ.
Sharing the podium with Smith were Guillaume Boivin (Team Canada) a first year junior, and Vincent Blouin of Team Quebec.
Smith now wears the brown jersey as tour leader, Blouin will wear the orange jersey as points leader, and Boivin has the blue jersey as the first year junior leader.
The first road race, a 113.2 km circuit from Rouyn-Noranda to Val-d’Or will be held on Tuesday, July 18 followed by Stage 2, a team time trial, on the streets of Val-d’Or early Tuesday evening.
Prologue (1st stage)
400 m Sprint
1. Eric Smith (Can) 27.371
2. Guillaume Boivin (Can) 27.803
3. Vincent Blouin (QC) 27.830
4. CÃ©drick Bourgeois (QC) 27.910
5. Mark Hinnen (Can) 28.035
6. William Goodfellow (Can) 28.077
7. JÃ©rÃ´me Lafourte (Bel) VC Ardennes 28.079
8. ClÃ©ment Perroteau (Fra) PÃ´le Espoirs 28.117
9. Charles Thibault (Volkswagen/Trek) 28.197
10. Christian Deshaies (AndrÃ© Cycle/IdCad) 28.202
– Brown jersey (individual leader): Eric Smith (Can)
– Orange jersey (points leader): Vincent Blouin (QC)
– Blue jersey (best first year junior): Guillaume Boivin (Can)