TOM SKUJINS DOMINATED THE 2014 TOUR DE BEAUCE
Text of Réal Labbé
SAINT-GEORGES, QC – Latvian cyclist Tom Skujins, of Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team, is the new champion of the Tour de Beauce. He who celebrated his 23rd birthday with a victory in the last stage, which already held the yellow jersey prior to the stage, has achieved what many riders in the Tour's history could not do before.
From the memory of those who have been following the Tour for a long time, he may be the only holder of the yellow jersey entering the last stage to win the ultimate stage, and the second U23 rider to claim the yellow jersey after Nathan Brown last year. In addition, he claimed the red jersey for the best young rider, and the white jersey for winning the points classification. On top of all these winnings, he finished second in the King of the Mountain standings.
His combined time of 16h19m09s allowed him to overtake Rob Britton (Smartstop) by 1m49s and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) in 2m09s. The Latvian cyclist was simply euphoric after crossing the finish line. He proved here that he had the potential to be part of a World Tour team. After winning the stage of Mont-Mégantic, he repeated Sunday with a victory in Saint-Georges. A fantastic way to highlight his 23rd birthday.
His team was also very proud of this victory. “The guys have sacrificed for me at this stage and one of them even left a part of his skin on the asphalt when he had been dropped. It really is a beautiful day, the most beautiful of my life, the other being that of my birth.”
Part of the breakaway that took off in the 73rd kilometer, Skujins kept pace until the end to cross the finish line first. “This is the way to race, and I'm the philosophy of Team Hincapie that wants to fight until the end. This is the most difficult stage after the Mont Mégantic and there was pressure to keep the yellow jersey. I had to keep the strength in my legs to make it to the line.”
Rob Britton made a race of Sunday, he who was fourth overall before the stage of St. George. His second place at the stage allowed him to take the second of the general classification.
Julien Gagné (Norco) proved to be the best Quebecers this last stage with his 29th place. This is a very good result for a mountain bike racer who turned to road cycling only a year ago. “I'm glad it's over, it's a very difficult race and I'm happy just to have finished it. Road races are longer than mountain bike. And had to adapt to the peloton. I'm happy with my performance and I hope that was able to sell myself a little bit with this race. Currently I'm in love with the road bike.”
This Tour de Beauce will not prevent him to participate next week at the Quebec Provincial Mountain Bike Championships, and in two weeks at the Canadian Road Championships in Lac Mégantic.