Team Canada had one of its strongest showings ever at the Tour de Beauce, Canada’s premier UCI-sanctioned men’s stage race, with James Piccoli of Montreal winning the overall title and a stage, Ben Perry of St Catherines taking the Climber’s Jersey, plus winning the Team General Classification as the top team.
Piccoli had a dramatic come-from-behind victory, winning the penultimate fourth stage to move up from 14th to eighth in the overall standings, and then driving the breakaway on the final day with team mate Jordan Cheyne of Kelowna, BC, to take the Yellow Jersey by 11 seconds. Piccoli is the first Canadian winner of Beauce since Svein Tuft in 2008, and the first winner from the host province of Quebec since Jacques Landry in 1994.
“It hasn’t totally sunk in, to be honest,” said Piccoli. “The team’s plan in the final two stages was to make it hard, attack and blow the race to pieces. And everyone did an amazing job of doing that. Jordan [Cheyne] rode out of his mind for me, and all the guys were laying it on the line for me. It was up to us to ride in the break, and we did it.”
Two other members of Team Canada finished in the top-10 overall – Cheyne in ninth and team captain Svein Tuft of Langley, BC, in tenth. Tuft was the last Canadian to win the Tour de Beauce, in 2008, and is in his final season of racing.
Overall, Canadian riders had their best results at Beauce in recent years, with wins in four of the six stages, plus five of the top-10 finishers in the overall standings coming from Canada.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Kevin Field, Manager of Team Canada. “I don’t think we could have hoped for anything better today. We knew that this last stage is one where you can really turn things over. So, we had a really simple game plan; we said ‘our game is chaos’ … just create as much chaos as we can and stack any move with our riders. Today it just worked out; being tactical on this circuit doesn’t work, you just have to go from the start and be committed.”
Cycling Canada is the governing body for competitive cycling in Canada. Founded in 1882, Cycling Canada aims to create and sustain an effective system that develops talented Canadian cyclists to achieve Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship medal performances. With the vision of being a leading competitive cycling nation by 2020 celebrating enhanced international success, increased national participation and world class event hosting, Cycling Canada manages the High Performance team, hosts national and international events and administers programs to promote and grow cycling across the country. Cycling Canada programs are made possible through the support of its valued corporate partners – Global Relay, Lexus Canada, Mattamy Homes, Louis Garneau, lululemon, 4iiii, Argon18 and Bear Mountain Resort – along with the Government of Canada, Own The Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.