By Robert Jones, VeloNews Correspondent
Lubor Tesar (Nürnberger) chalked up his second win in as many days atthe third stage of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce, winning a field sprint over Tuesday’s second place finisher – David McKenzie (iTeamNova.com). The pace was fast from the start and, coupled with the seemingly endless rolling two-kilometer climbs of 6%-8%, saw the field split. In the end, only 40 riders made the cut for the front group, with the remainder of the field finishing over 21 minutes back, and putting themselves out of contention.
After some early solo and duo break attempts, the serious work beganDuring the final KoM of the day, 77 kilometers into the 151 kilometer stage.
On the 4.2 kilometer climb 8 riders got away, joined first by another 12, and then eventually by another 20. Mercury was well represented by 4, including Gord Fraser and Scott Moninger, however, defending champion Henk Vogels missed the move.
iTeamNova.com had Dominique Perras, Alan Iacuone and Scott Guyton,Saturn had Eric Wohlberg plus two, Prime Alliance had Danny Pate and two others, Navigators had Mark Walters and 2 others, Nürnberger had 5, including the race leader, and Mapei-Quick Step had four. In fact, the only major team to miss the break was the 7Up-Nutra Fig squad of Charles Dionne.
“It was a terrible day for us” said Dionne. “I flatted after the firstKoM (the team waited for me) and then we redlined it back to the group.When the (third) big group went after the last KoM we tried to chase, but nobody else was helping. This is the worst day I’ve had this season.”
At the front there were some early efforts to breakaway, but Nürnbergerput a stop to that by going to the front for the final 35 kilometers.
“Nürnberger did a great job setting tempo”, Fraser acknowledged. “They chased down the breaks and kept the speed high; it was very impressive.”
At the end, Nürnberger got the stage win by keeping the pace so high that no one could come by.
“I didn’t have it today, after chasing onto the front group.” saidFraser.
“I got burnt also, when I left Scott (Moninger’s) wheel to get on theNavigators train. I decide to risk it because they were going pretty good, but then it didn’t go anywhere and I got boxed in. I was in a world of hurt today”
Race Notes:– David McKenzie was in the front group then dropped off the back with severe cramps, and everyone thought that was the end of him. However, he grabbed so cold water from his team vehicle, poured it on his legs and motored back to the front group, eventually finishing second.
– Nürnberger has “the strongest team ever in our history” according to the Director Sportif. They certainly looked good today.
1. Lubor Tesar (CZE) Nürnberger 150.8 km in 3:41:29;
2. David McKenzie (AUS) iTeamNova.com;
3. Ciaran Power (IRL) Navigators;
4. Allan Davis (AUS) Mapei-Quick Step;
5. Petr Bencik (CZE) Wüsteenrot-ZVVZ;
6, Soren Petersen (DEN) Saturn;
7. Martin Laciak (CZE) Wüsteenrot-ZVVZ;
8. Matt Decanio (USA) Prime Alliance;
9. Gord Fraser (CAN) Mercury;
10. Leonardo Zanotti ITA) Mapei-Quick Step all s.t.
1. Tesar 7:38:53;
2. McKenzie at 0:03;
3. Fraser 0:22;
4. Johan Coenen (BEL) Marlux-Ville de Charleroi 0:25;
5. Power 0:26;
7. Laciak 0:27;
8. François Parisien (CAN) VW-Trek;
9. Michael Rogers (AUS) Mapei-Quick Step both s.t.;
10. Russell Stevenson (USA) Prime Alliance 0:28;