Having left the Navigators Professional Continental squad at the end of 2006, Mark Walters has proven his worth to new teammates at the Kodak Gallery continental team by taking a dominant victory on the Tour de Beauce's opening stage. The 31 year-old rider flew across the 180 kilometre opening stage, breaking clear with 12 kilometres remaining to take a 26 second victory in a Kodak Gallery one-two.
"This is the first race I have won in a long time and I did it solo, which is the way I prefer to win races," he told Cyclingnews after the race. "It's a new team and I am showing what I can do with teammates working for me."
Walters, a six-time Canadian National Champion, took victory from teammate, countryman and current national champion Dominique Rollin. The only sprinter in the main bunch, 26 year-old Rollin sprinted to a comfortable second place over Jacob Erker (Symmetrics).
"This shows that I am going well and I am certainly no more fresh than any of the other guys that did Philly week," added Walters.
The convincing victory certainly commanded respect from his peloton rivals, with Symmetrics' Svein Tuft commenting: "I was happy for Mark to win - we weren't going to chase that back. He fought hard for the win."
"We'll take it day by day from here, but it sure is nice to see Mark take such a convincing solo win," added Kodak Gallery team manager Kurt Stockton. "Tough men win tough races and there is no doubt Mark is one of the toughest. With the conditions this week, hydration will be the key. There is a lot of racing ahead, we have to stay focused and get our work done."
The event continues with the 170 kilometre Stage 2 from Vallée - Jonction.
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