A brave solo move in the final 20km of the second stage of the Tour de Beauce earned Cormac McGeough (EC Makadence Primeau Velo) his first win in UCI-organized races and the leader’s yellow jersey of the career.
The Irishman won the stage by 20 seconds ahead of Evan Russell (Cycling BC) and stage one winner Matisse Julien (Ecoflo Chronos). That time, along with the ten second stage win bonus, was enough to put him a second ahead of Russell and Julien in the overall standings. However, Julien kept the other three jerseys distributed in the contest: points, climber and best young cyclist.
The 169 kilometer stage was a great square circuit; a completely new course for the Tour de Beauce. The day started out wet and misty, with temperatures on the cool side, and didn’t improve until right at the finish line, when the sun finally came out.
The weather seemed to discourage attacks in the early part of the race, with nothing clear for more than 40 kilometres. Russell, who came close to winning the opening stage with a breakaway, started the first significant move of the day and was joined by seven other riders.
The gap grew to two minutes by 96km before Julien’s Ecoflo team and second-placed Tyler Stites’ Project Echelon team picked up the pace to close things out with 43km to go.
A new break quickly formed, with ten riders making their way up the road, including McGeough, who launched solo with just over 20km to go, while the rest of the group slowly disintegrated and were caught by the peloton every ever smaller.
McGeough continued to count the miles; never more than 35 seconds ahead, but strong enough to keep the peloton at bay. He led the final 500m climb to the finish line, with enough of a gap to take the race leader’s jersey.
“Things were pretty chaotic with 35-40km to go,” explained McGeough. “There was an Echelon guy and a [Ecoflo] guy, so there wasn’t a lot of cohesion, so I attacked again with about 20km to go. I just went really, really hard and kept it tight and stable; that’s my specialty”. “It doesn’t always work out; it’s probably the hardest way to win a bike race, but oh my gosh it’s so rewarding when it finally pays off. It’s so satisfying to finally win my first UCI race, and to win here at the Tour de Beauce “.