Race report: Tough break for Stevens men

This past weekend the Stevens Racing team took part in the Calabogie O-Cup road race at the Calabogie Motorsports Park. It was our first road race of the season and also the debut of the new team kits which made us look even more awesome than we already are.

The breakaway at Calabogie, with Marc Boudreau in third spot. Photo by Nick Vipond.

The breakaway at Calabogie, with Marc Boudreau in third spot. Photo by Nick Vipond.

As we warmed up we discussed our race plan which in short entailed riding at the front of the pack and being present in any moves that went early in the race. We did a really good job of this in the opening laps with everyone taking turns covering moves, most of which were short-lived until about three laps in when a group of eight got away and made it stick. Marc Boudreau made the move for us but we were looking for more than a 1/8 chance towards the end of the race so we could still race as a team from the break.

As the race wore on little groups would try to cross to the break with Derrick St. John and J.S. Perron covering what seemed to be endless attacks from the pack. A few times groups would make some progress but then they would fatigue and the pack would swallow them up with the only real impact being that the break was kept somewhat under control, never gaining too much more than a minute and a half.

In the closing laps there was a flurry of attacks and chasing from the pack that brought the break back to within 20 or 30 seconds. Derrick jumped out from corner four and by the time we reached the finishing straight had bridged up to the break, but even with my bad eyesight I could tell something was up — the break seemed significantly smaller than when we saw them take off at the beginning of the race. I learned after the race that this was due to Casey Roth (Ride With Rendall), Mike Woods (Garneau-Quebecor), and Osmond Bakker (Octto-Cervelo) attacking and going clear of their breakaway mates.

The  remaining six riders including Marc and Derrick mostly had spent legs from a long day off the front and they got caught by the pack with about three laps to go, and we got the time check to the break 1:30. Chasing ensued by the pack but it was in vain: the break held steady and made it to the end with the majority of their advantage. Stephen Keeping was our best finisher in ninth.

— Matteo Dal-Cin