This past weekend, Marc-Antoine (M-A) Nadon, Alexis Cartier, Conor O’Brian, Jure Rupnik and Jean-Denis Thibeault took to the start of the 32nd Tucson Bicycle Classic. Span over three days, the stage race featured a prologue, a 130km road race and an 80km circuit race.
Friday was a 5.2km TT Prologue- M-A finished fastest for the H&R Block crew at 7:35- 39 seconds behind the winner Alec Cowan from Silber Pro Cycling.
Saturday was the 130km road race – M-A was sitting 13th on GC and Alexis 19th. The first lap had a time bonus, so nothing was able to get away but M-A was able to grab a two seconds bonus. Conor countered the sprint attacks to initiate the breakaway of the day. He was joined by a handful of riders who stayed away until halfway through the last lap. Alexis bridged over to pressure Silber, the Silber train brought the breakaway back with 6km from the finish. A block headwind made for a slow run into the finish, which caused congestion with trains coming from everywhere. In the final, Jure lead M-A out, but the sprint was launched from too far back. M-A finished 5th in the sprint and moved up to 11th on GC.
Sunday’s circuit race was on the outskirts of the city, featuring 9 laps of the 9km loop. Half of the lap was undulating uphill, and then dropped downhill until the last 800m where the course had two rollers before the finish line.
Silber controlled the race until the end of the third lap where there was a time bonus. Alexis and Conor took advantage of M-A’s position in GC to pressure Silber by countering each other attack. Their efforts paid off and a select group went up the road including Alexis, Conor and M-A. M-A counter attacked one of Alexis’ moves to find himself in a two man break that would stay out front for 3 laps, eventually joined by Alexis and 6 other riders. With 3 laps to go, Anton Varabei from Toronto Hustle attacked the group on the downhill section and was followed by Nick Zukowski and M-A. M-A went into the last corner sitting second wheel and let Anton roll away to force Nick to close the gap. Nick attacked and M-A jumped on his wheel. With a head wind finish, M-A waited until 150 meters to go before launching his sprint and crossed the line to take his second win of the season! M-A moved into 3rd in GC!