GP de Saguenay 2.2
GP Saguenay was a solid 4 days of racing, and despite no majors results coming out of it for either myself or the team, I think we rode really well and showed that we have some strong form for this upcoming Philadelphia Classic and then Tour of Beauce.
I finished up 11th on GC, +28 seconds behind the overall tour winner from Silber Pro Cycling’s Matteo Dal-Cin. I was also initially winning the KOM jersey from the 1st stage, then held it for the next two stages, and lost the jersey on the final stage. This means I’ll be coming home with 3 polka dot jerseys (new one awarded at the end of each stage) for something that I didn’t win. It also meant I got to go to the podium for three days out of four for celebrating a jersey that I didn’t win. This meant meeting some the the VIP’s, race organizers and podium girls three days in a row and trying to speak some french with them. Awkwardly, some of them congratulated me on Sunday night at the end of the tour for thinking I had won the jersey.
This was a little bit disappointing, but we were still focused on trying to improve our position on GC on stage 4 by establishing and helping maintain the break rather than conservatively sitting in and trying to defend the KOM points. Brodie Talbot and myself got into the early move and were sitting 4th and 5th on GC respectively had that move stayed to the line. This meant we were happy rolling on the front, whereas my KOM competitor Bruno Langlois from team Garneau was also in the move, but wasn’t up on GC and therefore was happy sitting on the back of the bunch getting a free ride. I still tried to compete for the KOM points, but Langlois had a far better kick in him and beat me every time to the line. He also went on to win stage 4, and had also picked up a win on stage 2 after attacking solo from the breakaway group of 9. (Not a bad tour at all for him!)
Since the move was fairly dangerous and Silber only had 1 rider in it, we were convinced that they would have to spend lots of energy limiting the breakaways time (which had gotten out to 1:40 after the 4th lap). Instead, it was Team Garneau that came to the front and spent two laps going full gas to defend their young riders jersey and sprint jersey who were both back in the peloton. This meant our breakaway was caught rather earlier in the race than we initially thought which also meant team Silber didn’t have to sacrifice as many riders and could control the later part of the race really well. Our highest place rider was Brodie Talbot in 10th place, +27 seconds behind on GC and Josh Berry was also +28 seconds after finishing in the same group with me every stage.
Full results here: http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/Grand_Prix_Cycliste_de_Saguenay_2015
The weather here so far has been extremely volatile. The first day we arrived it had apparently snowed in Saguenay as we were staying near Quebec City and went for a training ride in full winter kit. The very next day it was sunny and 25+ degrees, which called for summer kit, sunscreen and some tan lines. This seems to have a huge impact on the quality of road surface over here which has made for some rough racing. Fortunately, it hadn’t been too windy so there wasn’t too much gutter action… But anytime it did go in the gutter you just had to hope any upcoming pothole wouldn’t eat up your front wheel.
For the stage 3 crit which started on Saturday at 6pm there was forecast afternoon thunderstorms with a predicted 30mml of rainfall!! It did rain quite heavily during the day but luckily it had stopped raining during the race, but it left behind a very wet circuit and lots of puddles. It seems lots of riders enjoyed riding through these big puddles, and therefore meant that stage 3 was a rather filthy stage by the end in the end. Along with the bumps and cracks along the circuit, there were plenty of mechanicals during the 70km crit.
Overall Saguenay was great! French was more prolific than English in Saguenay and it was lots of fun trying to remember old vocabulary from year 12 class. It’s inspired me to buy a french book and read it in a little bit of down time, and I’ve also spent a little bit of time looking at real-estate near the french alps in towns such as Grenoble as a possible Australian winter vacation. (the infamous Alpe d’Huez, Col du Telegraphe and Col d’Izoard are all nearby with plenty of strava segments). -If you’re reading this dad, I think its a great investment! You can use it during winter for skiing, and I’ll use it during summer for cycling.
Next up is the Phili Classic on Sunday which we are all looking forward to racing. I’ll be sad to leave the french speaking state of Quebec, but Beauce isn’t too far away and by all accounts people are comparing the hilltop finish up Mt Megantic in the same realm as Baw Baw. Unfortunately, I didn’t take this into consideration too much while at the Saguenay Buffet…
Thanks for reading,