After a moral boosting 2nd place in the TTT last night, we woke up realizing the current yellow jersey was too injured to take the start. Since Cam we now 2nd overall due to the good team performances, he virtually became race leader over breakfast! As a show of respect for the leader who crashed the day before, we did not want to wear the jersey, and the organization never asked us either.
During our team meeting, we decided it was too early to defend that lead. After all, 8 guys were within a minute of Cam. We knew many teams would be looking to wear the jersey, and we were willing to wait a bit. We suspected it would go like day one of any great stage race: fast from the gun. This was actually great, as most teams did not even know the yellow jersey was not there, and our boys were allowed to play the breakaway card once more. It was clear, if we made it into any break with a rider menacing Cam, we would not ride. After a few good attacks, the right one was gone early. The biggest mistake of the 2008 edition of the Tour could have been done, they let Cam get into a break!
So the rest of the boys could take the day (well ok, part of it) off. Cam, on his side, rode a solid stage.
Once the teams realized he was now the leader on the road, they did not cooperate too much with him. With 30 km’s to go, he decided to test his 8 men group. The reaction was not that good, but they still reeled him in. A few minutes later, another guy gave it a shot and Cam was the only one able to jump on his wheel. I was immediately on the radio to tell him to pull through and ride it. Within a few km’s, the gap was made, and they would never be seen again.
The other rider would not even be able to pull through Cam’s rhythm. When I went up to him to ask him (in French) to ride with Cam, he pleaded us to let him finish 2nd, and that he would not sprint for the win. After all, we were going for the leader’s jersey, so I was not too concerned with the stage win. The local boys kept his word, and Cam won the stage and took the leader’s jersey at the same time.
The big question in all the media at this moment: “Can he climb with the big boys?” Tomorrow’s stage is where it all begins. 90 km’s in the stage, the pain fest will start with category one and two mountains. The total stage will be 120 kms. Defending will not be easy, but our initial goal to take some time over the best climbers before stages 4 and 5 is accomplished (the top one, Pena Pena is now clocked at 13 minutes!).
The team is doing well. I should not say this, but they are currently relaxing a bit in the ocean. We came back to the hotel to realize electricity was gone, so we thought it would be a good idea to relax a bit and enjoy the moment.
This project is made possible under the Centre’s Selection program, sponsored by Giant, Nelsons, Yakima, Croissant Soleil, Université de Moncton, Shimano and Gu. For this special project, we also want to send a special thank you to some very special donations which made it possible for us to get here:
Luc Arseneau, ChPC
Head Coach / Entraîneur Chef
200, Promenade du Parc / Park Drive
Dieppe, NB (Canada) E1A 7T6