Race: Tour de Beauce, Stage 4
Start/Finish: Quebec City/Quebec City, Canada
Distance: 124.8 kilometers
Quebec City, Canada — Team Novo Nordisk’s Kevin De Mesmaeker moved into the top 20 overall at the Tour de Beauce after a strong finish on Stage 4.
“The plan was to get Charles into a good position, but he didn’t have legs in the end,” De Mesmaeker said. “From the first lap on, the race was constantly hard with several teams pushing the limit all day. On every climb, the peloton lost riders and by our final lap, our group was down to only a few dozen guys.”
Saturday’s 124.8-kilometer stage was a hilly 9.6-km circuit race around Quebec City. Team Novo Nordisk’s Charles Planet attacked several times attempting to form a break but never was able to establish a gap. Over the 13-lap course, all this work took a toll on the Frenchman, and he fell out of the front group, leaving the work to De Mesmaeker. Not known as a true climber, De Mesmaeker continued to push himself to fight as Team Novo Nordisk’s general classification rider. Historically, Javier Megias has filled this role but in Megias’ absence, De Mesmaeker continued to rise to the occasion. The race came down to a diminished bunch sprint with De Mesmaeker finishing 17 seconds behind stage winner Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). The solid riding moved De Mesmaeker into 19th overall.
“I’m testing my limits at this race in a way I haven’t done before. I’ve never been in the situation where I’ve been this high in the GC (general classification) at a professional race,” De Mesmaeker said. “I’m still young. I don’t have the power to finish at the front on a stage like today. I’m gaining lots of experience and learning that if I keep growing, one day I can do well at a race like this.”
Results: Carlos Barbero (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) took the win one second ahead of Dion Smith (Hincapie Racing Team). Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop) rounded out the podium.
Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling squad, continues racing on Sunday at the final stages of the Tour de Korea and Tour de Beauce. In Korea, the riders tackle Stage 8, a 65-km race around Seoul. In Canada, the team takes on Stage 5, a 122.4-km circuit race around Saint-Georges.