Well, the cat’s finally out of the hat. Columbian climber Flober Pena Pena showed the rest of the pack what he was capable of after hiding for four days. Today’s stage 4 marked the entry in the real mountains. Not to say the event had been ridden over flat and easy roads since its beginning, but today, and until Thursday, the Tour de la Guadeloupe enters 3 mountain stages.
For us, with Cameron Evans in yellow, we had to bring him to the mountain safely; they were coming after the 90th km. From the start, attacks would come from everywhere and made our job really hard. Our tactic was to be very selective on who we’d chase down and who we’d let go. With only 4 riders left on our team, the job would be though with that many days to go if we decided to totally control.
As expected, Pena Pena went to work very early as soon as the roads went up. After 20 km’s, the selection was made and he was up the road with 6 other guys. Being 13 minutes behind on GC, we figured it would be ok to let him go early on the flatter roads. Unfortunately for us, absolutely no other team or rider were willing to ride with us.
Ryan Belliveau had to do a lot of work in the first 40 kms before the first 2 KOM’s. He unfortunately had to pay the price and got dropped on those super steep climbs, and had to ride home alone. André Tremblay then took over, and with some help from Dustin MacBurnie, he manage to get Cam to the foot of the climb with a gap of about 3:45 on the Pena Pena group. It was then the time for Dustin to take care of the climbs. He did very well also, helping Cam considerably dropping the gap on everyone but the eventual solo winner of the day, Pena Pena.
The Columbian flew over those mountains and gained another 3 minutes over the yellow jersey; slicing his deficit in half in one stage. “I was ready to give him 3 or 4 minutes today, but he got seven. Every team ganged up on ours and would not work for us. They don’t seem to care if Pena Pena wins the Tour and steals them a spot on the podium. Some of them lost a lot more time then we did by not riding. They had all the interest in the world to ride the flats with us, I have yet to figure out all there local tactics;” mentions the directeur sportif, Luc Arseneau
So Cameron now enjoys a lead of 4:38 over 2nd place rider, but Pena Pena will be looking at changing that over tomorrow’s stage. Stage 5 will also be 120 km, but will go over the toughest mountains on the island, the Mamelles.
On a side note, we were happy to be using our Giant and Shimano bottles today, along with our Gu products. Our mechanic, TJ Woodburn-Rogers was also very happy to find his tools (and clothes) at the Pointe-à-Pitre airport last night. Every thing was still held up at customs since Friday!
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 down here:
Luc Arseneau, ChPC
Head Coach / Entraîneur Chef
200, Promenade du Parc / Park Drive
Dieppe, NB (Canada) E1A 7T6