Stage two was a 170 km circuit ( 8 laps of a 21 km loop) in La Baie, Quebec. The main feature was a tough stair-stepping climb that could easily split the field on every lap. This layout initially seemed to favor a breakaway, and we were prepared for such a outcome. On the other hand, we knew that it would be difficult to run a conventional defense, as we were shorthanded with Ryan abandoning due to illness. So lining up and riding behind moves was not really a good option. Our best shot to keep the yellow jersey was the standard “non-defense”.
The team was exceptional in covering and killing moves all day long. Young himself did his fair share of welding to spell the guys off. The day was not without incident as some of our riders were victims of crosswind enduced crashes and punctures. Huff and Durrin took the brunt of this, but fought like champions to regain the group after each incident.
Routley covered a very dangerous 12-man move inside 40 km to the finish, which could have made it to the line. The gap quickly blossomed to 2 minutes and we were happy with Routley in it, especially given what he accomplished at the Tour of California just a few weeks prior.
Unfortunately, the move lost momentum and the whole field was largely together for the final 20 km lap. That was a very good for us. Once again the team rose to the occasion, rallied around Huff and Young and switched to plan B – our sprint finish scenario.
The whole team was in position on the final downhill run to the line, and at the 2 km point it was go time. Selander and Durrin led the initial charge, and then it was turn and burn time for Routley and Soladay into the final highly technical 400 meters. Once again Huff hit the afterburners and took Young to the 150 meter point like clockwork. It was curtains for the field and glorious center stage for the team.
Young goes into tomorrows 70 km criterium with a defendable yellow jersey on top of his national champion stars and stripes. We have a good shot at a third stage win.