Tour de Beauce: Piccoli wins in Quebec City

James Piccoli (Team Canada) won stage 4 at the Tour de Beauce on Saturday, attacking from a breakaway with 4km to go in Quebec City and soloing across the line to victory. Silber Pro Cycling’s Danick Vandale was second, followed by JLT-Condor’s Thomas Stewart in third. Serghei Tvetcov retained the yellow jersey after finishing safely in the bunch, protected by his UnitedHealthcare team.

The 35-lap, 70-kilometre stage around the Quebec Legislature saw Team Canada come out very aggressively from the start, eventually putting three riders in the nine man break that developed. In addition to Piccoli, the break contained Team Canada’s Ben Perry and Jordan Cheyne, Danick Vandale (Silber), Matteo Dal Cin (Rally), Jonathan Brown (Hagens Berman Axeon), Joshua Kropf (Applewood Garneau), Taylor Shelden (Jelly Belly) and Thomas Stewart (JLT Condor).

The most dangerous rider was Piccoli, 2:24 down on Tvetcov, but the break gained a maximum of a minute, and UnitedHealthcare was content to let it sit out front. Canada decided to thin out the front group, with Cheyne attacking, and then Piccoli launching a very strong counter with four laps to go. No one responded effectively, with only Dal Cin trying to ride up, closely watched by Cheyne.

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The day was Piccoli’s, who carved out a 46 second lead over the rest of the break in the remaining laps. Vandale won the sprint for second ahead of Stewart, with the peloton coming in 1:06 down on Piccoli.

“It was really nice to win today on such a beautiful day and a beautiful course,” said Piccoli. “The plan that we had as Team Canada, with so many strong riders was just to make the race hard and try and make chaos. We were in the breaks all day, and we had the numbers in the final break. We wanted Jordan or I to go early so others would have to chase, because Ben has a good finishing kick. Jordan set up my move and then the others sat up for a second and I was able to get away.”

There was no change in the GC for the top riders, with Tvetcov still leading Adam Roberge (Silber) by 20 seconds and Jack Burke (Jelly Belly) by 22 seconds. These are the revised standings after the previous evening’s short stage, where numerous riders went down in crashes in the final three kilometres. Officials revised the standings late in the evening to give everyone behind the two breakaway leaders the same time gap of six seconds.

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