After dropping back in the classification, Yannick Cornille twisted and turned his way back into the limelight.
He revealed the secret to his mojo. "I was happy to see the rain appear." It is only then that he imparts the confidence that separates good downhillers from race-winning downhillers. "The other riders don't like it when it rains. I do," he said, beaming ear-to-ear.
Not everyone is born a descender. The current race leader, Yannick Lincoln, is definitely not one of them. He would would try to defend his lead by not taking too many risks. This is a balance that only Lincoln could measure. And his measurement was spot on - he retained his top dog status in the MTB Tour of Mauritius.
The mountaintop overlooking Ferney is called Mount Camizard. It is a nature reserve, but it almost became a national highway. The Mauritians take their nature and spirituality seriously. They lobbied and won the right to keep the green belt natural. The otherwise ubiquitous sugar cane was absent on the mountaintop. Forests of palm trees rippled across the hillside. Clay mud made way for grassy tracks.
The 5km downhill had all the makings of a landmark stage. Rain clouds popped over the ridge. But they didn't affect the concentrated and at times jovial mood of the tour riders. Initially the track headed upward for almost 2km. With a windswept morning stage behind them, this was a reminder that fitness and technique go hand-in-hand. From then on it was a helix descent finishing with a pedally section.
A major casualty of the GC was Hugo Caetane. Early on the climb, he was reduced to half walking and half dragging his bike. The sweep vehicle picked him up which cost him his position in the overall classification. He was out of the tour. Bad luck has dogged him this Tour.
"I had a front wheel puncture. A sharp rock cut my tubeless tyre," said Caetane. The Mauritian road race champion won't let it get him down though. "I will go for a training ride tomorrow," he quipped.
On the sharp end of the race, Cornille took control on the descent. The best descenders often don't look fast because they are so smooth, but the clock doesn't lie. Cornille aced the downhill in 11:09, more than 27 seconds ahead of Christophe Gerard and downhill specialist Arnaud Li.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|4||Armand Le Court De Billot||0:01:04|
|5||Jean Philippe (Jnr) Tyack||0:01:08|
|7||Dany Vogel (Germany)||0:01:29|
|8||Cedric Passee (Standard Bank)||0:01:36|
|9||Stephane Payet (ACPR)||0:01:37|
|10||Christian Emmanuel (ACPR)||0:01:38|
|11||Georget Burel (ACPR)||0:01:45|
|12||Gil Guillaumin (ACPR)||0:01:49|
|13||Arnaud De Commarmond||0:01:50|
|15||Olivier Le Court||0:01:59|
|16||Andreas Freiter (Germany)||0:02:06|
|18||Daniel Chaussalet (ACPR)||0:02:41|
|24||Jean Philippe Tyack||0:04:05|
|25||Michael Kedhoo (Standard Bank)||0:04:07|
|26||Sully Robert (ACPR)||0:04:21|
|32||Mathieu Le Blanc||0:05:29|
|36||Xavier De Chalain||0:06:24|
|39||Andre Le Blanc||0:17:55|
There are no GC results available after stage three, one of the second day's three stages.