Team Garneau-Quebecor Places 2nd & 3rd at Cigar City Criterium
by Michael Woods
After spending the past week training in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Garneau-Quebecor headed to Tampa Bay to take on many of the best criterium teams in North America. Returning to action from the Vuelta Independencia Nacional, Remi Pelletier Roy, Adam Farabaugh, and Bruno Langlois were joined by the team’s newest addition, Pennsylvania native Michael Chauner. Despite being both outmatched in numbers and facing some stiff competition, the four man squad asserted their strength in the final stages of the race.
From the beginning of the 90-minute, 4-corner crit, Garneau-Quebecor found itself at the front, as national track champion Remi Pelletier-Roy narrowly missed the first prime sprint. However, for the first third of the Cigar City Criterium, the team did not look poised for a strong showing. Without getting into the first major break of the race that featured 10 strong riders–including three riders from team United Healthcare–the odds of a Garneau-Quebecor victory appeared low.
“The first serious break went pretty early and the team missed it. It went with a counter attack from one move that I was in and I couldn’t respond. The stronger teams were represented, so I was pretty worried that the race was over. But with 10 guys in the break, I told myself it’s possible that the cohesion will not be good since too many teams were represented. That’s kind of what happened, the break didn’t gain that much time.
“A few teams that missed it went to the front to chase, but they couldn’t close the gap so I attacked and bridged the 15-second gap with the field a few meters behind. After that, it was restart mode and the race was open again,” said team Captain Bruno Langlois, who logged over 550 kilometers in his past three days of training.
With the peloton fully intact, attacks began anew and, for the better part of 20 minutes, the pace of the race increased dramatically.
“There was a moment when the speed dropped and I made a small attack and got clear. After a short effort down the home straight, I looked back and saw Bruno coming across,” said debutant Michael Chauner.
56 minutes into the race, during a prime sprint, both Langlois and Chauner took the opportunity to separate themselves from the field, and gain, at one point, 10 seconds on their chasers. The two Garneau-Quebecor riders were soon joined by 5 other riders and the leading group managed to lap the field in the final kilometers.
Lapping the field casued chaos in the final laps, which saw several crashes and a few prime wins for Garneau-Quebecor rider Adam Farabaugh. In the final lap of the race, both Langlois and Chauner were able to navigate through the field and sprint their way to an impressive 2nd and 3rd place finish.
On both his 2nd place finish and the team’s performance Langlois said, “I’m pretty happy with the results today. The team did great. The first crit of the year is always a little bit stressful, but today we broke the ice and we showed we were one of the best teams out there with 2 guys on the podium. We were the team that initiated the winning move, and it was the perfect and well-calculated kind of move that I like.”
Team Garneau-Quebecor now heads back to their training camp base in Deerfield, where they will be spending the next week logging more miles and preparing for their next race, the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium on March 23rd. To receive updates on the team’s training and races throughout the season, you can follow them on twitter @GARNEAUQUEBECOR and Facebook.