Today’s victory for PureBlack Racing’s Scott Lyttle, in a tough first stage of the Tour de Beauce in Quebec, saw him complete an amazing treble as he won the yellow Tour Leader jersey, King of the Mountain jersey and Sprint jersey. Lyttle led home a breakaway that he had initiated just 15km from the start to win the stage with Tim Gudsell just behind in second place.
“It’s been an amazing day for the team,” said Carl Williams, PureBlack Racing’s Sports Director. “It doesn't get much better than this. It’s our first win at an international road stage at a UCI event so it’s a really significant day for PureBlack Racing. It was a top field with three Pro Continental teams who race in Europe turning out to race. The guys really showed they can step up and compete at this level. We surprised a lot of people today.”
PureBlack Racing started with a strategy of being aggressive and trying to push the early break. Lyttle took the lead at the 15km mark to take the first King of the Mountain points. As that break was just about to get chased down a group of 12 formed a larger breakaway group on one of the many rollers at the start of the course. All of the big teams were represented in the break and some teams like PureBlack Racing had more than one rider. Gudsell was in the break along with defending champion Ben Day of Kenda and NRC Series leader Francisco Mancebo of Realcyclist.com. The break quickly got out to a two minute lead.
With two of the big name teams TeamType 1 and United Healthcare underrepresented in the break they moved to the front of the peloton and shut the break down to a one minute lead before the break lifted the tempo and started to ride away again and the peloton was forced to let them go. The break stretched to a ten minute lead, with steady progress to a fifteen minute lead that eventually grew to 22 minutes by the finish line.
In the break Lyttle pursued the King of the Mountain points taking three from three for the day before Lyttle and Gudsell turned their focus to the stage win with about 15km to go. Initially two riders struck out ahead of the front of the break by about 20 seconds and then Gudsell saw the opportunity to jump across and join them. The last 10km was a very challenging part of the course with a lot of climbing and cross winds to contend with. Lyttle and attacking rider Kiwi rider Brett Tivers, who Lyttle had been covering, then made it across to the front three riders to make a lead group of five (three Kiwis) with 5km to go.
With both Lyttle and Gudsell feeling strong they started to increase the tempo and dropped one of the group as they worked together and made PureBlack Racing’s numbers pay over the very technical last 3km. Lyttle then put in a big effort to lead out Gudsell and put further pressure on the breakaway of four. This effort proved to be too strong for everyone but Gudsell as Lyttle rode across the line just ahead of Gudsell to take the win, the time bonuses and the sprint points to go with the KOM points he had previously accumulated.
In tomorrow’s second stage Lyttle will start in the Tour Leader yellow jersey. Gudsell will wear the Sprint jersey and Francisco Mancebo the KOM jersey by virtue of their respective second placing’s in the points competitions today.