Guillaume Boivin of Longueil, Que., churned to an impressive fifth spot in a blanket finish in the opening stage of France's 2012 Tour Méditerranéen.
It was a quick start for Steve Bauer's Team SpiderTech team powered by C10, as the black-and-white-clad Canadians kicked off the 2012 World Tour campaign for at the 2012 Tour.
The Tour Méditerranéen, classed No. 2 in UCI race rankings, is a four-day stage race totalling 525 kilometres. The event continues through Sunday. Thursday's 132-km leg took riders through Provence from Petuis to Meyruil.
"It's great to see Guillaume in the hunt right out of the blocks," said Bauer, the team's sports director. Boivin was placed fifth in the pack finish in 3 hours 21 minutes 3 seconds along with first-stage leader Jonathan Tiernan-Lock of Britain, Yauhei Hutarovich of Belarus, Sebastien Chavanel of France and Raymond Kreder of The Netherlands.
Five other SpiderTech racers were given the same time: Americans Lucas Euser (43rd), Caleb Fairly (61st), Jonathan McCarty (89th), Bjorn Selander (108th) and Canadian Will Routley of Abbotsford, B.C. (119th).
"We aren't putting any pressure on the riders here. That said, we are racing with a plan and it was fantastic to see the boys execute well today," Bauer said.
"Keven Lacombe [of Montreal]woke up with a some nausea that definitely took him out of the finale of today's stage. But he's improving – and seeing how quick Guillaume was out of the last corner, we're excited to see how the boys can ride in the next two stages that look favourable for sprints."
Racing for the first time under Team SpiderTech colours were American riders Selander of Hudson, Wisc., and Fairly of Amarillo, Texas, both opting to switch to SpiderTech-C10 from other teams on the world tour.
This race also marked the return of Montréal sprinter Lacombe, who suffered season-ending injuries in the criterium at the 2011 Immunity-FX Canadian championships. Lacombe underwent several surgeries and intense rehabilitation before returning to the fold for SpiderTech. He finished the first stage 129th in 3:22:44, more than a minute and a half behind the leaders.
David Boily of Quebec City, who chased the yellow jersey at the 2011 Tour de l'Avenir before finishing in second place, also raced in the opening race and placed 139th, more than six minutes off the lead.
"Overall the team is looking to knock the cobwebs out of the system here. We want the riders to focus on communication, intra-team cohesion and integrating new teammates this week. The best way to do that is to focus on some real goals though – and today the boys did that. It takes a few days to get the racing sensations back so this is an exciting indicator for the next two stages and of course the races to come."
Stage 1 : Pertuis – Meyreuil (132 km)
Stage 2 : Salon de Provence – Martigues (136 km)
Stage 3 : La Seyne – La Londe les Maures (127 km)
Stage 4 : La Ciotat – Toulon Mt. Ferron (130 km)