Darren Lill’s runner-up placing on the opening stage of the Tour de Beauce left him seven seconds out of the overall lead and one of only a dozen competitors who remain within 94 seconds of race leader Danilo Wyss (BMC Racing Team).
The majority of the 105-rider field finished together, nearly five minutes behind an 11-man breakaway that Lill and Wyss were a part of during Tuesday’s 102.6-mile (165.2 km) out-and-back race from the Lac-Etchemin, a Quebec province of Canada.
A group of nine which included Team Type 1’s Chris Jones escaped the peloton approximately 30 miles (50 km) into the stage. With a feeling that this might be the decisive move of the day, Team Type 1 Assistant Director Gord Fraser went to work to ensure it had the firepower to make it to the finish.
"I sensed on opportunity to repeat a tactic we employed in Arkansas (at the Joe Martin Stage Race)," Fraser said. "Matt Wilson craftily launched Darren off the front of the Team Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin led peloton."
Wyss alertly hopped aboard and the duo set forth to bridge to the break.
"Jones even dropped back to help them accomplish the junction and once across the gap, they put immense pressure on the young Garmin squad," Fraser said.
Though the undermanned Team Felt-Holowesko Partners-Garmin squad
would find allies (the Colombian National Team) to assist with the
chase, the damage was done. The gap quickly widened to two minutes
and the 11 leaders would remain together until shattering in the
final two miles.
"With two notable sprinters in (Bernard) Sulzberger and Wyss, as well as three dangerous general classification contenders in (Ben) Day, Lill and Chad Beyer, we were ensured a very tactical and unpredictable finish," Fraser said.
The first to launch an attack was Beyer, perhaps softening the rest for a counter from the on-form Wyss. The ensuing climb had Day lay down a very hard tempo, which detached everyone except for Lill, Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies), eventual third-place finisher Ryan Roth (Team Planet Energy) and Wyss.
With Wyss possessing the strongest sprint of the remaining escapees, Lil attacked hard three times during the run-in back to Lac-Etchemin. But it was not to be for the South African, though he nearly did pull off the upset over the heavily-favored Wyss in the final sprint.
Jones, who rolled in 10th, was among the select group that didn’t lose a massive amount of time. The third-year pro is 1:33 behind Wyss and still very much in contention in the seven-stage, six-day, 507-mile (816 km) race.
Team Type 1’s other four riders Valery Kobzarenko, Moises Aldape, Matt Wilson and Ian MacGregor cruised in with the pack 4:45 behind the lead group. Kobzarenko won the 2006 edition of the Tour de Beauce while Wilson captured the final stage last year and Aldape won the sprint leader’s competition.
Team Type 1, which won the team competition at this race last year, is third in the team standings heading into Wednesday’s second stage. The out-and-back course from Thetford Mines stretches 99.8 miles (160.6 km).
Not racing in Canada as orginally planned is Shawn Milne, who separated his shoulder in a crash during Sunday’s TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship. He was the only one of Team Type 1’s seven starters who did not finish the 156-mile (250 km) race.
Lill will wear the sprint leader’s jersey Wednesday by virtue of being the next-placed rider in that classification after Wyss.
The Tour de Beauce is Canada’s only internationally-sanctioned professional stage race, attracting teams and riders from 14 countries.
Website: Team Type 1