Young Riders Elevate on the Relentless Rollers of the Beauce
Adam Roberge and Pier-André Côté elevated their game at the Tour de Beauce (June 13-17). This year’s Beauce began with one of the strongest pelotons the race has seen in years, with 4 Pro Continental teams and a Canadian National Team that eventually took home the GC, KOM and Team competition. Amidst all this firepower, our two 21-year-olds were a consistent presence on the podium throughout, with Roberge coming 3rd in the Stage 3a ITT and Côté winning both the first and last stages of the tour.
We’ve always known that Roberge could time trial. He is the reigning U23 National Champion who last year finished 4th overall at the Canadian Championships. His excellent 3rd place in the TT at Beauce–behind Svein Tuft (Michelin-Scott) and Sergei Tvetcov (UHC) was therefore no surprise. But we’ve been waiting for Roberge to have a breakthrough hill top finish and he delivered with a gritty 4th place on the Queen Stage’s final 5km climb up Mont Mégantic. He then proved his chops once again on Stage 3b’s finishing power climb up 18% grades where he finished 7th.
At the beginning of the year, Roberge was challenged by the team to emerge as a GC rider. He is relatively new to the sport and typical of his intense focus, Roberge is systematically putting together the pieces required to succeed. After the TT, he was 2nd overall and wore the young rider’s jersey. The entire team mobilized to defend that GC position as Roberge assumed a leadership role for the first time. On the final stage–one of the toughest to defend on the America Tour’s calendar–Roberge slipped back to finish a credible 11th overall and 2nd amongst the U23s. He’s almost there, and the entire peloton now knows it. The fact that Roberge is only gradually showing his potential makes him one of the most exciting North American riders to watch over the next few years.
Pier-André Côté is, like Roberge, a reigning national champion after winning the Canadian Crit Championship last year (where he also finished 3rd in the RR). Last year he had numerous top tens, including a 5th and 7th at the Tour of Alberta and a 9th place finish at the Tour of Utah. This year, Côté is showing his versatility: winning Stage 1 from the bunch and Stage 5 from the break. Our improved lead out train has been key to Côté’s elevation, especially the piloting done by Emile Jean–himself a former opening stage winner
at the Tour de Beauce. Another key is Côté’s exceptional racing IQ, which allows him to win from a variety of race scenarios. Côté looks poised to get to the next level. He’s a versatile, confident leader and he’s just plain fast.
Our ability to develop national champions into performers on the North American stage is proven. and without a doubt our Sports Director, Gord Fraser, has played a huge role in the formation of our riders. We’ve also developed, if not insisted on, a great internal culture. Right now the team is all-in, racing to represent the Silber name on ou
r orange Giordana kit. The result: the Tour de Beauce has 6 stages… Côté won two and Danick Vandale took a classy 2nd place on Quebec’s fan-packed Grande Allée in Stage 4, to go along with Roberge’s 3rd in the TT and 4th up Mont Mégantic. These are signs that our program, now in its fifth year, continues to give riders the tools they need to race well. While Côté and Roberge were standouts at Beauce, Nick Zukowsky has arguably been our best racer all year, and watch for Charles-Étienne Chrétien. The savvy Junior National Champion and now first year U23 quietly had a superb Beauce. So stay tuned as there’s more to come! Next up: Nationals.