Mount-Mégantic returns for Tour de Beauce

The organisers of the Tour de Beauce in Canada from June 13-18 have announced the details of the 21st edition of the race. Although several stages will be similar to last year, there have also been a few modifications made, including the return of the tough Mount Mégantic stage.

The opening stage on Tuesday, June 13, will be 155 km starting and finishing in Lake Etchemin, travelling around the north of the Bellechasse area. On Wednesday June 14, the Saint-Joseph/Saint-Joseph stage will return for the third year in a row. This stage is considered very difficult one over 180 kilometres, through the many hills in municipalities such as Beauceville, Saint-Severin, Scott, Sainte-Marguerite and Saint-Odilon.

On the following day, the riders will have to tackle the formidable climb of Mount Mégantic at the end of the 153 km stage that starts in Saint-George. The finishing climb will take the riders to the top of the highest paved road in Quebec.

Friday, June 16 will be very important for the riders, with two stages on the menu. In the morning, there will be a 15 km individual time trial in Saint-Jean-de-la-Lande. In the evening, the whole population is invited to the criterium which will be held in the downtown area of Saint-George. The riders will do 40 laps of 1.5 kilometres, starting at 6:00pm.

The weekend's stages will be essentially the same as last year, with the Ville de Quebec hosting stage 5 on Saturday, June 17, close to the Parc de la Francophonie, on Grande-Allée. A somewhat modified urban circuit of 12.5 kilometres will lead the cyclists to down the Côte de l'Église and skirt the river on the Champlain boulevard, before attacking the côte Gilmore 10 times.

The last stage on Sunday will be the now traditional urban circuit of 12 laps of 11 km in the middle of Saint-George.

21 teams, comprising nearly 150 riders, are expected to take part in the 21st Tour de Beauce. There will be several teams from Canada, including Symmetrics, with Svein Tuft (2nd last year) and Brandon Crichton, best young rider in 2005; Italpasta-Ontario; Volkswagen-Trek, Team Québec, and the Canadian National team with Dominique Rollin, winner of stage two last year. Team Garneau-Optik, with rising star David Veilleux, and Montreal based Calyon-Litespeed will take the start for the first time in Beauce.

The United States are sending five teams this year: Continental pro team Navigators Insurance, TIAA-CREF with Canadian road champion François Parisien, Jittery Joe's-Zero Gravity, team Priority Health and team Fiordifruitta.

Amongst the foreign teams Australia will be well represented with two teams: and FRF Couriers/Caravello. British team DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed will be the only returning international team from 2005 edition. Mexican team Tecos-Trek will be back after a two year absence. Team Sparkasse from Germany, Murphy & Gunn/Newlyn Group from Ireland and national teams from New Zealand and the Netherlands will complete the peloton.

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