The Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery guys were in action in three different events over the weekend, and came away with a pair of victories. Here are the boys’ race reports:
Criterium de Beauharnois
Saturday, April 27
With just three Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery riders on the start at the Criterium de Beauharnois Saturday, good coordination was going to be key to getting a good result – and the boys delivered flawlessly.
Steve Keeping, Matteo Dal-Cin and JS Perron were all over the attacks that started from the gun, and spent the race on the front of the pack. Along the way, the guys picked up four of the five intermediate sprints – two for Matteo and one each for Steve and JS. After the fourth sprint, JS continued his effort and formed the winning breakaway with two Medique-Silber Investments riders and one from Ekoi-Le Gaspesien.
JS won the sprint to the line, kicking off a great weekend for the team which is not only working well together, but developing a great team spirit.
— JS Perron
Sunday, April 28
Matteo Dal-Cin, JS Perron and myself loaded the VW up Sunday and took off towards Ste-Martine for a 10-lap windy affair. With minor car troubles behind us and plenty of time to suit up, we were ready to rip and feeling confident after Saturday’s race. The plan: Be in good position at all times and jam at the front to be sure we made the early move. With the strong winds and right composition in the break things were likely to stay away.
Things went from the gun and instincts took over. JS, Teo and I hit it hard and raced from the front. After a few moves along the windy course Teo and I found ourself in a good one. Garneau-Quebecor, Ekoi-Le Gaspesien and Medique-Silber Investments were represented. We drove things along feeling confident with numbers in our favour. The gap blew open and the bunch disappeared into the distant farm fields. The painful task of staying away for the next 90k unfolded. Matching pulls with these goons isn’t my forte but Matteo was in his element. With my trailer pulling strength being put to the test we lopped off for the next two hours until things got interesting. A hard dig saw two sets of tired legs fall behind in the crosswind. With five left and everyone motivated by the cash on the line, we ramped up the leg burning pace to ensure we held the pack off. Two laps to go turned into one and with five kilometres to go it was game time. Mr. Dal-Cin put in a huge dig that was only matched by former SpiderTech rider Simon Lambert-Lemay of Garneau-Quebecor. With legs screaming I jumped across alone and it looked like it would be the three of us that would take it to the line. Matteo impressively hit Simon over and over with attacks but the experienced rider responded each time. Glued to his wheel I waited to unleash my sprint. Simon jumped first and was able to hold me off to take the win.
Not my happiest moment but to be beat by a great rider and good guy dulled the disappointment of coming so close. Chapeau to Matteo and JS who both rode like champs. Thankful to have these guys at my side.
Until GP Brossard …
— Steve Keeping
Sunday, April 28
If you ‘ve never raced the Almonte Roubaix, you don’t know what your missing: 80 km over paved roads, gravel and some forested sections. Sometimes Mother Nature cooperates, sometimes not so much.
This year the air was warm, the sun was shining and finally no need for leg warmers.
The 24th Edition of the Almonte Roubaix was a huge success for the Stevens Team. With only two riders in attendance, the tactic was simple: Be patient.
So that’s what we did.
The critical areas of this race are pretty obvious: Be in the front five riders before the technical sections.
Sure enough, the first section through the forest provided the ultimate selection for the race.
A hundred odd riders went in, and seven came out ahead.
Marc Boudreau and I were lucky to be well positioned and came out of the first wooded section intact, except I had lost all my water. The main break of the day was composed of Marc, myself, Osmond Bakker (OCTTO-Cervelo), Doug Van Den Ham (Nine2FivePro.com) and three Tall Tree Cyles/Steelwool Bikes riders: Iain Radford, Matt Surch and Niel Schiemann.
Luckily Marc had all his water, and luckily he was able to spare a bottle and probably saved my race. Once again one of my Stevens teammates bailed me out of a jam.
Everyone cooperated fairly well in the break as there was a group with some contenders that had missed out, so it was in our interest to keep the pace steady.
We tried to push the pace a few times and sneak away, but it was not to be had. I pushed real hard on the pedals on the famous sandy switch ack, with the full intention of going hard right to the finish if I got the gap. But I think the boys knew to keep us on a tight leash.
So we waited for the sprint.
Matt Surch launched himself down the gravel faster than I’ve ever seen anyone take a corner before the final sprint, Doug V jumped to get on his wheel, and I went around from there and benefited from my superlight Stevens Xenon and accelerated around them to take the win.
Marc finished a strong sixth in the sprint, knowing that we did what we came to do: Get the Rock.
— Derrick St. John