Teamwork and tactics are important in bike racing, but sometimes it just comes down to who the strongest rider is on the day of the race.The Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau on Saturday was one of major objectives for the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery men’s team, and all six guys on the start line were ready to give their all in the 120-km circuit race.
Stephen Keeping, JS Perron, Derrick St. John, Steve Proulx, Marc Boudreau and Matteo Dal-Cin started with a straightforward strategy: try to have good representation in early breaks in order to be in a good position if the break stayed away, and cover any moves that might get away if the break got caught.
As soon as the race set off in perfect hot, sunny weather, the attacks began, with the alert Stevens riders covered everything. But despite some promising moves, nothing stuck thanks to the consistently high pace. It wasn’t until fatigue started to take its toll around the middle of the race that the dangerous moves started to form. A group split off the front of the pack and reshuffled a number of times as riders bridged across and others struggled with the high pace. But the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery guys made sure the team was well represented in each move.
Finally, the decisive move went in the closing laps: a group of seven that included Stephen Keeping and Matteo Dal-Cin. Also present were the Garneau-Quebecor duo of Michael Woods (who raced for Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery in 2012) and last year’s Gatineau GP winner Bruno Langlois.
Both Woods and Langlois had been in the thick of the action from the start of the race, and any questions over whether they could go the distance were erased as the pair started to work over the breakaway, shedding two riders, including Keeping.
After repeated attacks by Woods and Langlois, Langlois broke clear on his own and the remaining three riders — towing a watchful Woods along — were unable to close the gap.
Forty-four seconds after Langlois crossed the line to take the win, Woods just held off Dal-Cin for the second spot on the podium. (Click here for full results)
Dal-Cin’s third place is already Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery men’s team’s seventh podium result after just a month of racing so far this year. The team continues to improve every race and we can expect even better in the months to come.