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Francisco Mancebo (Realcyclist.com)
Spaniard points to Mont Megantic and time trial as deal breakers
Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com) is arguably the most threatening rider to win the overall title at the UCI Tour de Beauce, as the race heads into the ‘queen’ stage three that finishes atop Mont Megantic. The Spaniard is hoping to use the ascent to gain time on his rivals before the stage four time trial.
"There are two stages that are going to be harder Mont Megantic, which will be very important, and the time trial the next day," Mancebo said. "The classification difference is small right now and I think the first riders to climb Mont Megantic and do well in the time trial can win the overall here."
Mancebo is currently sitting in sixth place overall, five seconds behind race leader and stage one winner Scott Lyttle (PureBlack Racing). RealCyclist.com brought a respectable team to the event with the intention of winning the overall title. The squad also includes Thomas Rabou, Tommy Nankervis, Frank Travieso, Cole House, Yosvany Falcon and Ian Burnett.
Mancebo and Rabou were involved in the stage one decisive breakaway of 22 riders that gained 22:44 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Mancebo was just one of several potential contenders for the overall title, which also included current Lyttle and his teammate Tim Gudsell, defending champion Ben Day (Kenda/5-hour Energy), Pat McCarty and Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10), Alex Howes (Chipotle Development) and Bernard Colex (Amore&Vita).
"Paco being in the break was the main reason we were so happy with it," said RealCyclist.com DS Gord Fraser. "We did a lot of the work in that break, rightfully so, Paco has shown that he is the man to beat at any race he enters this year. We are looking good and sitting right where we want to be."
Stage three will offer the field a 153 kilometres point-to-point road race that starts in Saint-Georges and finishes on top of Mont Megantic. The climb itself is a steep four kilometres in length, however, the 15 kilometres of predominantly uphill rollers before the final ascent is what typically shatters the field.
Mancebo expressed concern regarding the strong time trialist in the mix including Tuft, a six-time Canadian National Time Trial champion, and Day, who moved into the race lead last year after his winning stage four 20 kilometre time trial.
"There are a few really good time trialist and I have respect for them," Mancebo said. "Ben Day won last year and Svein Tuft is a grand time trialist. On the climb there will be riders like Bernard Colex and Pat McCarty to look out for. There are definitely a few riders that are dangerous."
The former Grand Tour contender began racing in North America in 2009 for the disbanded Rock Racing team. He has won a stage at the Amgen Tour of California along with overall title at the Tour of Utah. He is currently leading the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC) after winning a handful of early season stage races including the Redlands Bicycle Classic, Tour of the Gila and Sea Otter Classic.