Lincoln makes pilgrimage to Tamarin

Queen stage challenges all

A 108-foot tall statue dedicated to the Hindu god Lord Shiva could only be seen today if you knew where to look. Rain had darkened the skies at the top of a 12km ascent made predominately from volcanic cobbles. Yannick Lincoln had no time to pay proper homage to this statue, let alone visit the many colourful shrines placed around a lake. He had a race to win.

After passing the sacred lake called Grand Bassin and the massive shrine, the riders took an undulating asphalt section. Once a year, Mauritian pilgrims walk on this road barefoot from their homes - situated anywhere on the island. Only now Lincoln rode in the opposite direction, on a one-way mission to Tamarin. He was hell-bent to enter the Black River Gorges National Park with enough time to seal his overall win.

After three stages on Friday, today's queen stage was always going to unlock any mysteries about the tough men on the tour. At the refreshment station at 45km Lincoln had ripped open a 2:10 lead over Gil Guillaumin. The rider from Reunion - Guillaumin - was making a bid for second place. He had outwitted his fellow countryman Yannick Cornille on the seaside sections. Cornille was fading fast. He was over nine minutes back, along with Dany Vogel and Christian Emmanuel.

Gordon Brown, a rider from South Africa, described the section parallel to the sea. "It was beach brush followed by ravines. There was one section where it was like a climbing-wall."

That wasn't the only type of climbing to be done. Lincoln described the climb up to the Grand Bassin. "It was so hard - very bad - because of the rain. Only the rocks remained."He was fully attentive the whole day and not just on the rocky ascent. "This is the kind of race I like," he said, explaining his dominating performance over the course.

Cornille later revealed the reasons why he fell behind. "I had a mechanical, as well as crashing." A flesh wound on his arm showed the severity of his impact. Cornille had impressed early in the tour with a prologue and downhill win. Now, his proud shoulders slunk; the Reunion rider's day had turned out differently from his dream.

It was evident from the outset that there would be a big classification shake-up. A strong local overall contender Christophe Gerard missed the early move and never made it back into contention.

Technical skills were summoned in the Black River sanctuary singletrack. The yellow jersey wearer emerged with over five minutes' lead showing his prowess. A windy plateau section weaving through sugar cane fields prepared the riders for the downhill to Tamarin. Lincoln made short work of the descent. He arrived at the finish line having made sure the long journey from Ferney was well worth it.

Guillaumin followed him by 18:46. He was clearly ecstatic with his second place finish. "It is fantastic for me." A strong performance moved him into second place overall with one stage remaining.

He fought for every meter, not only as a result of having slightly less form than last year, but also because of the elements. "The conditions today were very extreme: rain, sun, wind and very dangerous roads."

Most of the riders fighting for lower positions didn't have a prayer of finishing alongside Lincoln - not with his race-winning shape. Perhaps they should have stopped at the 108-foot shrine and asked for outside intervention, but even then, Lincoln would have probably reigned supreme.

Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Yannick Lincoln3:52:31 
2Gil Guillaumin (ACPR)0:18:46 
3Georget Burel (ACPR)0:28:03 
4Cedric Passee (Standard Bank)0:35:32 
5Armand Le Court De Billot0:38:21 
6Christian Emmanuel (ACPR)0:39:00 
7Dany Vogel (Germany)0:50:49 
8Andreas Freiter (Germany)  
9Christophe Gerard0:50:55 
10Liam Somers0:54:18 
11Thierry David0:59:44 
12Yannick Cornille0:59:45 
13Christophe Lincoln1:02:28 
14Olivier Le Court1:15:29 
15Olivier Heutte1:17:07 
16Mathieu Rivet1:21:02 
17Frederic Savre1:21:03 
18Arnaud De Commarmond1:21:20 
19Stephane Payet (ACPR)1:23:50 
20Michael Kedhoo (Standard Bank)1:29:51 
21Denis Valentin1:36:58 
22Daniel Maestracci1:45:30 
23Lawrence Wong1:46:27 
24Arnaud Li  
25Daniel Chaussalet (ACPR)2:01:42 
26Sully Robert (ACPR)  
27Simon Pougnet2:07:07 
28Jean Philippe (Jnr) Tyack2:12:17 
29Jean Philippe Tyack  
30Sebastien Tyack  
31Hans Brasse3:14:46 
32Xavier De Chalain3:21:46 
33Andre Le Blanc3:28:56 
34Gerard Chan-Kin3:32:21 
35Kesaven Oothendee3:52:29 
General classification after stage 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Yannick Lincoln5:55:01 
2Gil Guillaumin (ACPR)0:26:49 
3Georget Burel (ACPR)0:37:35 
4Christian Emmanuel (ACPR)0:47:38 
5Christophe Gerard0:56:53 
6Cedric Passee (Standard Bank)1:03:57 
7Andreas Freiter (Germany)1:05:24 
8Yannick Cornille1:05:41 
9Dany Vogel (Germany)1:06:57 
10Liam Somers1:30:45 
11Frederic Savre1:32:49 
12Armand Le Court De Billot1:36:28 
13Olivier Le Court1:38:07 
14Arnaud De Commarmond1:38:52 
15Mathieu Rivet1:49:14 
16Denis Valentin1:50:41 
17Stephane Payet (ACPR)1:52:24 
18Thierry David1:53:17 
19Michael Kedhoo (Standard Bank)2:05:09 
20Olivier Heutte2:06:41 
21Lawrence Wong2:23:59 
22Daniel Chaussalet (ACPR)2:31:17 
23Daniel Maestracci2:38:23 
24Sebastien Tyack2:50:45 
25Jean Philippe (Jnr) Tyack2:51:21 
26Jean Philippe Tyack2:53:08 
27Sully Robert (ACPR)3:05:02 
28Gerard Chan-Kin4:43:22 
29Hans Brasse4:45:29 
30Andre Le Blanc5:00:12 
31Kesaven Oothendee5:43:26 
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