Ville de St-Georges, QC â€“ The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Teamâ€™s Rory Sutherland (AUS) is the 2012 Tour de Beauce Winner, claiming the general classification win earlier today, Sunday, June 17, 2012, following the sixth and final stage of the raceâ€™s 2012 edition. In addition, Marc de Maar (CUR) finished 6th overall, Ben Day (AUS) took 12th, and Team UnitedHealthcare won the team classification after an outstanding performance during the 757km, six-day race.
Sutherlandâ€™s victory today was the second time in just over six weeks the strong Australian rider landed the GC title in a stage race. In early May, he was also crowned the overall winner at the 26th Annual SRAM Tour of the Gila.
Sutherland finished 19 seconds ahead of runner-up Hugo Houle (Team SpiderTech), who posted his biggest result yet at the elite level in his young career. Sutherlandâ€™s former teammate, Christian Meier (now with Orica-GreenEdge but racing for Team Canada this week), finished third overall, 43 seconds behind the yellow jersey.
Brian Hodes - veloimages.com
Todayâ€™s tough circuit race was comprised of a 125km, 10-lap circuit, and was filled with excitement. The final stanza of the Tour de Beauce was won by Canadian Bruno Langlois (Garneau-Quebecor-Norton Rose), who crossed the finish line first, ahead of fellow countryman Marsh Cooper (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and German Matthias Friedman (Champion System Pro Cycling Team), who took third. Sutherland and de Maar both finished in the top 10 on Stage 6, taking seventh and ninth place, respectively.
The boys in blue and white made sure that once Sutherland moved into the top spot overall following his second place finish in the Stage 4 Individual Time Trial that they would protect and not relinquish the yellow jersey.
Giving praise to his mates for delivering him to the finish in yellow, Sutherland said, â€śThese were six hard days of racing. The Team did a fantastic job, stayed on task and everyone did what needed to be done. The guys actually did more than expected. This was a great end to a hard week of racing.â€ť
â€śThe competition was outstanding and the teams here really did a great job,â€ť he continued. â€śThis is an amazing and beautiful part of the world and the people here have supported the race so well. We are really proud to be invited to come and race here.â€ť
Team Director, Hendrik Redant, said, â€śThis was a great win for our Team in the Tour de Beauce. Today we encountered very demanding parcours, a few climbs and several nasty turns with each lap. In the meeting this morning, we briefed our boys and told them to be very vigilant so that no riders (who could threaten GC) could get away. Yesterday, the boys showed a lot of power and they could keep it all together, and today, continued to ride strong as a team.â€ť
Redant continued, â€śWe had a few bad luck moments during the race, including Ben Dayâ€™s crash followed by a punctured tire for him on the next lap. Rory also punctured and at the same moment, the peloton decided to start chasing. But we were fortunate and the guys were able to return safely into the group each time.â€ť
â€śThere were lots of attacks by several riders later in the race, but our guys did a great job countering them all. It was a perfect ride to the finish ending in yellow for Rory and the same result winning the team classification here. This was a well deserved victory and a great ride by the guys,â€ť Redant concluded.
According to reports from CyclingNews, Sutherlandâ€™s rivals were full of praise for the Australian and his Teammates. Houle, who was pleased with his result and won the best young rider competition, said, â€śWe saw right away that Sutherland was virtually unbeatable, he was practically laughing as he closed gaps.â€ť
â€śHeâ€™s got such a good acceleration on him that itâ€™s hard to catch him off guard,â€ť said Svein Tuft (Team Canada), who finished fourth overall. â€śWe definitely didnâ€™t go down without a fight, but we just couldnâ€™t crack him.â€ť
Team UnitedHealthcareâ€™s Roster for the Tour de Beauce 2012
(June 12 â€“ 17):
Ben Day (AUS),
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Rory Sutherland (AUS)
Davide Frattini (ITA)
Chris Jones (USA)
Kai Reus (NED)