What's Cool In Road Cycling

GP De Beauce: Snot-Bubbling Climbs & Crazy Fans

Our own “Life In The Gutter” contributor – Rusty Beall of Team Health Net – is riding, and reporting the GP de Beauce this week in Quebec: “I’ve been asked to write a diary about one of North Americas’ largest and least well known stage races, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce. Beauce is a UCI 2.3 six day, seven stage race in and around Quebec, Canada that is touted as one of the most difficult races on the Continent.”

Today’s first stage was 125 KM, which consisted of four flat laps on the south side of the Saint Lawrence River and eight relatively hilly laps on the north side. We (Health Net) have six guys here and, unfortunately, Mike Sayers is out with a bad bout of bronchitis. With Mike gone and the stage having a pretty significant climb in it, Gord was not a hundred percent sure it was a stage he could win; so we opted to let all our guys look to get into moves and take opportunities as they came.

The laps early on were pretty slow, with everyone feeling the flight and the drive from the day before. I know I was feeling the travel; we had to drive from Boston to Quebec by way of Maine and nearly took out the rental van by hitting a moose.

On one of the first four laps, Greg Henderson (7-UP) and a Tecos guy got away and managed to stay away all day, only to get caught by the eventual winning fifteen man break that got away 100KM later. The fifteen man break went away right before the snot bubbling minute and a half climb that started off with a pretty good 12-15% section and ended with a difficult false flat through the neighborhoods of Quebec.

The people up in this part of Canada are crazy about cycling, there were people on the climbs yelling at us in French and English and school kids on the side of the road yelling what sounded to me like “Genevieve, Genevieve…” Maybe they weren’t aware that it’s a men’s race.

We managed to get Gord in this break, but the last time up the climb they routed us differently, extending the climb and splitting the break into small groups. The eventual winner of the first stage of Beauce ended up being John Leiswin, who profited from the lengthened climb and took the victory.

For me personally, the stage didn’t go quite as well. My legs felt good, but I went back to get bottles and ended up on the wrong side of a split when guys started getting tired on the climb. I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.

Rusty Beall
Health Net Cycling Team

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