Ben Day (Kenda/5-hour Energy) will return to defend his title at the UCI 2.2 Tour de Beauce held from June 14-19 in Saint-Georges de Beauce, Canada. Race organizers are expecting to once again host an exciting week of bike racing with another top-notch field assembled.
Day won the event last year in front of a family-filled audience that included wife Isabelle Vachon-Day. He was no stranger to the podium having won the event in 2007. Last year, he took over the leader’s jersey after winning the event’s time trial and maintained that lead during the final stages.
"Most of the races I go to I have the ambition to win the overall," Day said to Cyclingnews.
"In the past I have proven that I can win the GC at any event and this year's Tour de Beauce will hold no differences. But really there's no pressure. I hope to get there with decent form, put myself in the race, race hard and to enjoy the challenge. These are the fundamentals of every race. But rest assured if the opportunity arises to capture the victory, I'll be salivating."
Day will face some serious competition from a number of high profile overall contenders including Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com), who has won the Redlands Bicycle Classic and the Tour of the Gila earlier this year. Other notables include Canadian National Time Trial Champion Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10), Dominique Rollin (Canadian National Team), Charley Wegelius (UnitedHealthcare), Darren Rolfe (V Australia), Lachlan Morton (Chipotle Development Team) and Glen Chadwick (Pure Black Racing).
"It really looks like this is one of the strongest fields the Tour de Beauce has fielded in recent years as there is so much talent kicking around North America at the moment with the advent of more Pro Continental teams," Day said. "But this is also a great testament to this race - it's a real euro-style race, difficult undulating stages, great conditions for the cyclists and their teams, crappy roads which all amount to super hard racing, in the vogue of the Amgen Tour of California."
The Tour de Beauce is recognized as one of North America’s prestigious stage races. It has been won by riders including Levi Leipheimer, Michael Rogers and Jonathan Vaughters in previous years. This year’s demanding stage routes will once again play into the hands of only the strongest and well rounded overall contenders.
"The stages demand constant concentration," Day said. "The undulating roads mean that if you don't race aggressively you can't win. This is one of those races that I know inside and out and how to win it. That doesn't mean that the stars always align but I always have the time trial to capitalize upon. I have trained a lot in the region of Lac-Etchemin, stage 1, during the years my wife and I were getting to know each other, so I enjoy revisiting that area as well. The Tour de Beauce is a home town race for me with my wife coming from the region, so I feel well supported and inspired with my family there."
The Tour de Beauce will start on June 14 at the 165kms road race from Lac-Etchemin to Lac-Etchemin.
After a flat stage through the Thetford Mine's areas riders will take on the most difficult day of the 2011 Tour de Beauce. The stage will begin in Saint-Georges and ending atop the decisive Mont Megantic, a nine-kilometre mountaintop finish.
Stage four will host a flat and fast, 20km Time Trial, that will give the chrono specialists their chance to make their move in the general classification. The time trial will travel along the Rue 55. It is predominantly down hill on the way out which will make for a grueling return on the up hill back into Saint-Rene.
June 18th sees the riders head to Quebec City for the Circuit Urbain-Ville de Quebec totaling 127.6 kms. The peloton will complete 11 laps of a nearly 12 km circuit that is now used for the UCI ProTour Grand Prix Cicliste de Quebec City in September.
The peloton concludes the Tour de Beauce at the Circuit Urbain - Ville de Saint-Georges’s 135.5km circuit race.