Once again, the mountain top finish at Mont Megantic, on stage 2 of the Tour de Beauce, has shuffled the standings. Gregory Daniel (Axeon Hagens Berman) now holds the Yellow, Points and Young Rider jerseys, despite finishing 1:13 down on stage winner Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling). Stage 1 winner and former leader Mikhel Raim (Cycling Academy) finished more then nine minutes back.
While the 170 kilometre stage is dominated by the five kilometre Mont Megantic climb, which averages 12% for the entire length and maxes out at 18%, the riders face four KoM climbs before they reach the final ascent.
The race began with multiple break attempts, but nothing stuck until the race had covered nearly 30 kilometres. A large group of 24 riders broke clear, including Raim, Daniel, Ryan Anderson (Team Canada) and Rob Britton (Rally). Canada had three riders, Cycling Academy three, Axeon Hagens Berman had four, Rally two and Holowesko Citadel three. The teams that really missed out were Silber, Lupus and Jelly Belly, and they had to drive the chase.
The gap never went over two and a half minutes, but stubbornly refused to shrink until the final 25 kilometres. The break was shrinking in size as well, with seven riders remaining as they hit the Megantic climb, and only 20 seconds in front of the vastly reduced peloton.
Luis Lemus (Cycling Academy) attacked out of the break near the base of the climb, shedding everyone else. Daniel managed to set a steady tempo that kept him near the front as the top climbers came by him. Kuss, Hugo Houle (Team Canada), Chris Butler (Cycling Academy) and Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) went after Lemus, who was still leading with 1.5 kilometres to go, followed by Morton at about ten seconds, and then Kuss and Houle a couple of seconds later.
Kuss then upped the pace, dropping Houle and Morton, and racing right by Lemus to take the stage win. Lemus managed to just hold off Houle for second, with both riders eight seconds down on Kuss.
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