WHAT A SPECTACULAR WIN FOR TOM SKUJINS
Text BY Réal Labbé
LAC-MÉGANTIC - Tom Skujins, of Team Hincapie Sportswear, can take the yellow jersey of the Tour de Beauce with great pride at the end of the second stage, which started in Lac-Mégantic to finish at the top of Mont St. Joseph. Canadian Mike Woods (Amore Vita) took second place and was followed by Carter Jones (Optum P / B Kelly).
The race start, given by the Mayor Colette Roy-Laroche, was in the rain -- and the race ended in the rain with a temperature close to 5 degrees Celsius. All this with the last four kilometers averaging a grade of 11.6% with peaks of 17%. Unappealing for those cyclists who had completed 167 km, spaced out thanks to two beefy climbs.
“We left the group of eight in the breakaway with thirty kilometers to go,” said the Hincapie Sportswear rider, “and because the temperature we told ourselves that the peloton would not take any risk, and it wouldn’t work a whole lot. In our group, the cohesion was good.”
With thirty kilometers to go, two riders of Smartstop decided to attack the breakaway. “It was not really the right thing to do,” continued Skujins, “not at that point in the race. I managed to join them and we worked together. At the foot of Mont Mégantic, I was not sure what to think because both riders seemed tired, but it could have been a bluff. And the field was less than two minutes behind us.”
The Latvian rider managed to outpace his breakaway companions to cross the finish line first. “I am very happy with this win, because this is my first year with the team and I'm glad to be able to offer them the victory. It's very good for me too. I was thinking more of a win on Sunday to celebrate my 23rd birthday, but I'll take my gift today.” The new yellow jersey holder has demonstrated a high class offering a bouquet of flowers to Mayor Lac-Mégantic during the podium ceremony.
This was for Lac-Mégantic
In this second stage, Mike Woods relished this position. "For me, it’s like a victory. I really have not been lucky this season. In March, I was the victim of a crash and I suffered a concussion, and then I was sick. So I am very satisfied of my performance today, especially since I had to change bikes early in the race because mine broke. Neutral service SRAM provided me with a bike and it took me about twenty kilometres before I'm got used to. The last two kilometres were really difficult, but as I spent four months in Italy, and I had the opportunity to climb some of the more difficult hills over there.”
For the Canadian rider, the city of Mégantic is something special. "This is my third participation at this stage of Mont-Mégantic, and as a Canadian, the tragedy that struck this town really touched me. That's why I dedicate this race and my second place to all the people of this region.”
Friday, the caravan of the Tour de Beauce transfers to Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande for the individual time trial.