Nothing much happened in stage 7. After 3 hard days in the mountains, everyone was more then happy to ride in the group for the whole day (160 km). For us especially, this day was more than welcome after all the work we had done in the previous days. The only unfortunate incident happened when, 2 km from the finish, the yellow jersey collided with another rider and crashed. Dustin McBurnie and Cameron Evans nearly avoided this crash. Was everything was said and done, Pena Pena was awarded the time of the peloton as the crash happened in the last 3 km of the stage.
This morning though, when we showed up at the start, the other rider involved in the crash, came to see us accusing us (or Cam) to try to voluntarily crash him and the yellow jersey. This was a funny discussion as his story was not standing too much, and it also did not coordinate too much with what we saw on television. After letting argue with himself, we went to see Pena Pena who confirm none of our riders had even touched him. The guys who was accusing us was actually to one who caused the actually crash. The two, Cam and Pena Pena actually shook hands on the start line to kill all the rumors going around the peloton.
The stage then went on pretty much uneventful. After working for Cam all week, I actually gave a red light to Dustin to slip himself into a breakaway. After making sure everything would be ok with Cam and that the UCC Team would take control of the race, he went up the road with a group of 8 guys. They never managed to make it up to the initial group of 3, but he still finished 6th in the stage. Cam, André and Ryan rolled in at 1:37 with not too many changes on the GC. Cam did try a few attacks, but was always reeled back in by Pena Pena, his team, or other random riders.
Then came stage 8B, the awaited 15 km time trial. The question was on everyone’s lips: Does Cameron have enough distance to bring back Pena Pena? 1:28 is not an easy task over such rider with only 15 km in front of us. The TT was opened with Ryan Belliveau posting the best early time. He virtually led the race for a very long time. He finally finished 11th; very good for someone who survived the past two days being really sick and dehydrated. His ride probably motivated the rest of the team. In fact, Dustin was the next guys to take the lead to finish 8th, while André Tremblay also finished strong with a 10th position. No need to mention our team dominated the team ranking for this stage.
The table was now set for the big dual. Evans was the first to leave, and the yellow jersey would leave 2 minutes later. At the first time check, km 3, the Columbian had a 9 seconds lead. Since we had talked with Cam not to open this head wind course too hard for the first 5 km, I felt somewhat positive and now had hope Pena Pena could explode. Two km’s later, they are tied; time to open up the machine. Evans rode the next 10 km with everything he had opening a total of 39 seconds! Not enough you could say, but still an amazing performance by the 24 year old.
Tomorrow’s final stage will take the riders from St-François to Pointe-à-Pitre where they will hit the final circuit (123km). 44 seconds is now the gap and we have a lot of respect for the actual yellow jersey. But rest assure, we will not let him rest until we all cross the final finish line!
A few numbers on this Tour:
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