Every Canadian cyclist worth his salt-stained jersey wants to do the Tour de Beauce. It’s like a rite of passage.
The final stage of ‘Beauce’ is a leg grinder of an urban circuit in Saint Georges known for dramatic lead changes, crazy caravan driving, and streets lined with spectators enjoying the race from their lawns. And then there was that time our team car pulled over from the caravan to a lawn BBQ happening on the course. Gord calmly ordered “Trois hot dogs, tous garnis et trois boissons rafraîchissantes svp.” The next lap the hot dogs and drinks were ready for us.
So yeah, Beauce is a great race that ends with a kick-you-in-the-teeth final stage. This year it did not disappoint, delivering virtual lead changes, some key riders going up the road, teams trying to control and riders cracking out the back. Essentially there was constant action for spectators, race commentators and directors scrambling to make decisions in their cars.
In the end, however, we got bit in the butt. We entered the race with Nick Zukowsky in yellow and Serghei Tvetcov 3rd at 6 sec. Nick, however, was only in the lead by a fraction of a second; and only 14 seconds separated first from 5th. From the gun to the final couple laps, all the hitters took a swing at Nick. In the end, a well-deserving Brendan Rhim (Arapahoe) took the overall with Nick falling to 3rd behind 2018 winner, James Piccoli (Canada). There was some consolation in Keegan Swirbul finishing the stage on the podium, behind Diego Milan (Canels) and Rhim, and moving into 4th GC with Tvetcov in 5th. Zuke took the Young Rider’s jersey and we won the Team Competition.
But we really wanted to win the overall at Beauce with Zuke. A side of me wants to remind everyone that Zuke just turned 21, and that he won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay and finished 3rd at Beauce. During that stretch he raced 10 times in 11 days over two stage races and wore yellow for 7 of those days. That’s a lot of defending but really, in the end, the 2019 edition of the Tour de Beauce got away from us.
No stress. It’s time to relax and recover before heading to Nationals and then BC Superweek. In the meantime, here’s a gallery of great pics by Rob Jones of Canadian Cyclist and our own Jen Agan. They give a glimpse of the annual adventure that is ‘Beauce’:
Stage 1: Zuke almost comes over top, but finishes 2nd to Ty Magner (Rally). ©canadiancyclist.com
Team meeting led by Sports Director Gord Fraser ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 1 Podium: Magner followed by Zuke and Rhim. ©canadiancyclist.com
Zuke won the Young Rider’s competition. ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 2: Robin Plamondon gets going after Yohan Patry changed a front wheel flat ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 2: Keegan Swirbul was active all day and would finish an impressive 2nd up Megantic. ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 2: Alec Cowan, Robin Plamondon and Jonny Clarke protected Zuke and Serghei. They would finish 6th and 4th up Megantic respectively. ©canadiancyclist.com
Cowan, Clarke and Plamondon ©canadiancyclist.com
Zuke was aggressive throughout the Megantic stage ©canadiancyclist.com
Swirbul finishing 2nd on Megantic to James Piccoli (Canada)
An exhausted Nick Zukowsky crossed the line in 6th place but took the overall lead on Megantic. ©canadiancyclist.com
Zuke took yellow on Stage 2 after a brutally tough day and summit finish on Mont Mégantic. ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 3a: Serghei Tvetcov won the Stage 3a ITT for the second year in a row. ©canadiancyclist.com
Stage 3a: Zuke holds onto Yellow after stg 3a TT by finishing 9th © canadiancyclist.com
Stage 3a: Emile Jean… not sure. Not sure at all. © Jen Agan
Serghei Interviewed post ITT win © Jen Agan
Controlling on Stg 3b © canadiancyclist.com
Stage 3b: Nick held onto Yellow by less than a second. Perhaps the margin was gained by the drivetrain efficiency via MaximaUSA racing oils © canadiancyclist.com
Quebec City’s Grands Allée awaited the riders before Stage 4’s crit © Jen Agan
Nick held onto yellow during stage 4’s crit which featured the majestic backdrop of Quebec City. © canadiancyclist.com
Emile Jean leads the post stage debrief © Jen Agan
Stage 5: Emile leads the team as it controls the gap to an early break. ©canadiancyclist.com
Floyds Pro Cycling Team worked hard to maintain the gap
Serghei leading the chase as the race heats up over the last 3 laps © canadiancyclist.com
Post stage 5: Ben Wolfe gives Nick Zuckowsky a pat © canadiancyclist.com
Stage 5 podium: l to r – Brendan Rhim, Diego Milan Jimenez, Keegan Swirbul © canadiancyclist.com
FInal GC: l to r – James Piccoli, Brendan Rhim, Nicolas Zukowsky © canadiancyclist.com
Top team: Floyds Pro Cycling Team © canadiancyclist.com
Gord Fraser running the show at Beauce © Jen Agan
Our incredible soigneur and photographer, Jen Agan © Jen Agan