Greetings from Rimouski Quebec where we have now finished 3 of 5 stages at the Tour de la Releve – Canada’s premier road race event for Men’s Cadet athletes and Women’s Junior Athletes. In these past few days we have seen some fantastic success, building on last year’s great result when Gunnar Holmgren won the GC overall title. This stage race is meant to introduce young athletes to a true road racing stage race experience. This year Centurion Next Wave was able to field two teams: a Men’s Cadet team and a Women’s Junior team.
Stage 1 was a short 7.5 km team time trial, aided by a tailwind, along the St Lawrence River shoreline. The women blasted the course to win the event, riding at 46 kph. The men rode at an incredible 50 kph and took third place.
Stage 2 was a difficult rainy and windy stage: 78 km in length with lots of climbing. There were a few crashes but both Centurion Next Wave Teams stayed out of trouble. Amongst the women, CNW’s Megan Heath took second place. Combined with the previous day’s TTT result – this put here in the yellow jersey. Also, with Ruby West and Dana Gilligan finishing in the same front group, it meant that CNW now stood 1-2-3 in the General Classification after Stage 2. The men faced some challenges but all four athletes put in awesome performances with Tyler Clark finishing 4th overall, bested by 3 athletes from Team BC. This result put him in 4th place overall and will force a strong team effort to put Tyler onto the podium when things wrap up on Sunday.
Stage 3 was the individual time trial (15 km) and occurred today. Again, the women performed incredibly well: Dana Gilligan taking the win with Ruby West 3rd and Megan Heath 4th. This allowed them to maintain their 1-2-3 position on the General Classification with Megan passing the yellow jersey over to Dana. The men also rode well. Tyler Clark looked to solidify his position on the General Classification and pulled off a third place finish, distancing some of his rivals and moving closer to that coveted podium position.
All the athletes are ready to give it their all tomorrow in the Criterium Race through the town of Rimouski and Sunday’s final stage which includes 4 rides up the famous Cathedral Hill Climb. The men, in particular, will have to race very strategically to counter a very strong Team BC. Will the Women sweep the overall podium? Can Tyler Clark move onto the podium? Stay tuned!