Congratulations to James Fouche, Michael Carswell and Bradley Leitch on their achievements in the NZ Junior Road Team at the Tour de L’Abitibi. The boys individually and as a team experienced the full gambit of emotions that riders go through during a multi day tour where luck and fortune come and go daily. James who was expected to be a strong contender on GC unfortunately got taken down in a crash at the front of the race 6km from the finish line on stage 1 which cost him his overall ambitions. He bounced back 2 stages later with an exceptional time trial ride to take 2nd place in the stage 3 ITT.
James smoking the ITT James 2nd place stage 3 ITT
Michael also was taken down in a crash with just over 3km to the finish on stage 1 after leading out the team on to the finishing circuit for the sprint finish which saw NZ get 3rd place with Hayden Strong. Later in the tour Michael got himself into a strong breakaway 5km into stage 6. He took out 2 of the 3 KOM’s and the sprint prime on the way to an eventual 3rd place stage finish. He also finished 4th in the KOM.
Michael 3rd place in Stage 6 Michael leading out NZ team for KOM
Bradley had a good start to the tour with two strong 8th placings in stage 1 & 2 and kept a top 30 GC position up until stage 5 where he was taken down in a large crash 25km into the stage. The crash disabled his bike and Bradley had to get a spare bike from neutral support costing valuable time and ultimately, sadly he missed the time cut by only 1min 20sec at the finish line. This was a tough experience for Bradley and the team.
Bradley sprinting for 8th place stage 2 [centre orange shoes Bradley up front in torential rain stage 4
In the lead up to the tour the boys had the opportunity to race in the Montreal Lacine Criterium where they were the guests of honour. They also spent 4 days in Quebec, staying as guests at the Team Garneau Quebecor cycling team house where they got to race and do a training ride with Louis Garneau himself. Capping off the wonderful hospitality they received at Team Garneau they were presented with new team helmets, race gels and socks.
NZ Team at the startline of Montreal Lacine Criterium NZ Team helmet photo shoot at Louis Garneau HQ
As you can see all three experienced the harsh realities of multi day tour racing with some very pleasing success as well, This combined with a lot of racing and off the bike [travel, accommodation, food] experiences will hold them in good stead for their future cycling ambitions.
All in all it was a fantastic opportunity that they all really enjoyed and made the most of. Thank you to CMC for their support.