Canadians Shine at the 50th Tour de L’abitibi
Cycling Canada – Val-d’Or, QC (July 24, 2018) – The 50th edition of the Tour de l’Abitibi concluded on Sunday with Team Canada’s Riley Pickrell winning his third of seven stages race and taking the Points Jersey for the overall competition. Riley Sheehan led a Team USA sweep of the overall podium, and became only the fourth rider in the history of the event to win both years he raced.
Connor Martin (TaG Cycling) was the top Canadian in the overall standings, finishing tenth, and also took the Polka Dot Jersey as the top climber in the race, as well as finishing third in the Best Young Rider category. Team Canada finished fourth in the Teams Classification, which was won by Team USA.
“The race was far more than I expected,” admitted Pickrell. “The strength of the international field is shocking and to come away with three stage wins is surreal. Abitibi was amazing. It is by far the favourite stage race I’ve competed in, due to the sportsmanship and fellowship created by hard international racing. I would often be amazed by the speed of the peloton as we flew through the Abitibi countryside.”
The team was directed by Scott McFarlane of Canadian professional development team Silber Pro Cycling for the first five stages, with Kevin Field, Road Program Manager at Cycling Canada, taking over for the final two stages.
“Three stage wins and the Points Classification highlighted a very successful Tour de l’Abitibi for Team Canada,” said McFarlane, who was attending Abitibi for the first time. “We also captured 38 valuable Nations Cup points. Riley really proved he has the class to win at the international level on the road after dominating the sprints throughout the race. In terms of the overall, Carson Miles was tracking for a top five in the ITT [Stage 3 individual time trial], when an unfortunate crash took him out of the GC. Better time trial preparation will raise Team Canada’s competition level in this race and add more top ten GC options. Having 3-4 riders in the top ten in GC after the ITT is very doable with the talent in this country.”
Kevin Field said, “It was really special for us to be here for the historic 50th edition and to see Team USA rewrite history. This is a pivotal race in the development of all our athletes and having a team with three first year athletes bodes well for our future. A special thanks to Scott McFarlane from Team Silber who stepped in to help lead the majority of the project.”
The only North American stop on the UCI Junior men’s Nations Cup, Abitibi has seen some legendary cyclists begin their international careers here, including Steve Bauer, Alex Stieda and Laurent Jalabert.
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