Nic Hamilton reports on Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay

While this was the first time that the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay included pro teams and a UCI 2.2 statu,s it was far from the event’s first edition. Originally a Nations Cup espoir race, the experience in the organization was evident in the flawless execution of the event and a rock-solid group of volunteers and staff.

Serghei Tvetcov leads the pack.

Serghei Tvetcov leads the pack.

This was the first time in as long as I can recall that Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis has travelled to Quebec for a double-up on UCI races. We are extremely happy to be racing in the homeland of our bike sponsor, Argon 18. The bikes responded very well to the steep pitches of the circuit races in Saguenay with the lightweight frameset giving our guys a chance to be very aggressive.

While our numbers waned when we lost two riders on the first day due to sickness, the remaining guys never missed a break and were very actively pushing the pace. Impressive riding by Kirk, Serghei, Ian and Jacob kept everyone on the edge of their seat while each one of those guys took turns rolling breaks as the “virtual leader on the road.” The 3T Mercurio wheels were an advantage for us in dealing with the rough Quebec roads, which are battle-worn from harsh winters. To the same extent I think we are the only team to not lose any water bottles due to road conditions, so a big thank you shout out to Arundel for the best cages on the market as well as comfortable bar tape to limit the jarring effects of the roads.

Ian Burnett gets some reinforcement from the team car.

Ian Burnett gets reinforcement from the team car.

At the end of every stage the bunch was more or less in tact, despite massive efforts and high average speeds recorded on the Cateye Stealth computers. At the end of the day the top 20 were all within 20 seconds, a race decided by intermediate and stage time bonuses; there was no room for error and thankfully Maxxis tires are especially resilient and light-weight as we had no flats.

While the results don’t necessarily show the strength of the team assembled for the Quebec UCI races, the competition and spectators know we brought a top-quality team. We are extra hungry to showcase that strength, and the upcoming Tour de Beauce, part two of the Quebec combo, will be the perfect platform with more difficult courses and time trial as well.

Stay tuned for more updates from Canada and pictures of the best-looking squad around with our brand new customized Bonts, coveted Defeet socks, and Fast Freddie clothing.

-Nic

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