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Dan Fleeman Reflects On The Tour De Beauce
Team Raleigh’s British hill climb champion, Dan Fleeman received an unexpected call up for the tough six day Canadian stage race the Tour de Beauce – won by’s Spanish star Francisco Mancebo – here’s what Mr. Fleeman had to say about it.

PEZ: Are you happy with the result, Dan?
Dan Fleeman: Yeah, for once! – I was eighth, only two seconds in front of the guy who was ninth but I was around 1:45 down on the rider who was seventh; no regrets.

PEZ: How come you ride a race in Scotland and finish in the bunch; but put you up against someone like Mancebo and you’re in the mix?
DF: The harder the race, the more it suits me – also there’s the motivation factor; that was a UCI 2.2 with Pro Continental teams.

The stage in Quebec had thousands out lining the barriers; I tend not to have the best motivation if there are no spectators.

PEZ: Beauce is a good race, then?
DF: It has everything a good race should have; stages which are not too long or starting too early, good food, good hotels, big crowds – it’s a nice race and I’d like to ride it again.

PEZ: Tell us about the notorious long, straight, endless climbs.
DF: They suit me; definitely very hard – dead straight for five miles, dragging up at seven or eight percent with no corners, no switchbacks, like huge ramps!

There was a lot of climbing, 1,500 metres most days; the Quebec circuit race had two very hard climbs up through the city – it was a Saturday afternoon so the crowds were great.

The last stage was very hard, a three hour circuit race of 125 kilometres with a five or six K climb every lap – we went up it ten times and by the last time it felt as if the whole circuit was up hill!

It kept splitting and I would get shelled, but I kept getting back – I had to suffer like a dog, that day.

Svein Tuft (Spidertech & Canada) had been in the break, but they got caught – then he went again to win the stage.

When the break was away, Pat McCarty (Spidertech & USA) said to me; ‘do you want to try to bridge up with me?’

I replied that it just wasn’t an option, I was hanging on!

And that’s another thing about the race – there was no easy last day, it went to the wire.

PEZ: What about Mont Megantic?
DF: That’s a hill!

Very tough, wide with 18% at the bottom – I had the team drive into the climb for me because I knew it was steep, but what I didn’t realise is that it’s a series of ramps; it goes steep and then eases, several times which makes it hard to get away and stay away.

I hung on to Mancebo as long as I could at the top; maybe too long – I went in to the red and lost a lot of time in the last 500 metres.

PEZ: What’s your take on Mancebo?
DF: He’s going very well, it’s not like he’s head and shoulders above everyone but he’s strong.

You can say what you like about his past but he just gets on with it – no shouting, no dramas, head down and go.

I made the big break with him on day one where we gained 15 minutes, there were guys sitting on, but he didn’t say a word, he just rode.

I was flattered because apparently, later in the race, mine was one of the numbers he had noted on his stem.

PEZ: What about Tuft?
DF: He’s impressive; for a big guy he can get up the hills, but I noticed that Tuft and Ben Day (Kenda & Australia) struggle when there are accelerations on the climbs – but they just seem to chug back at their own pace.

PEZ: How’s the jet lag?
DF: It’s my first time racing in North America; I’ve done long flights before, to Langkawi for example – but that’s going the other way.

I was on the go for 34 hours straight on the way back; but I’ve still been going out and doing a bit of high intensity work, even though I’m tired, if you don’t then your body begins to shut down.

I can’t afford that; not with the national road race championships on Sunday.

I did an hour of motor pacing on Tuesday and then sprints on Wednesday, not long duration but high intensity.

PEZ: You were third in an English Premier Calendar race not long before Beauce – what do you put the good form down to?
DF: I’m not fretting as much; and my friend, the Irish rider, Stephen Gallagher (Cycle Premier) has been staying with me – that means more Guinness and barbecues!

Seriously, I’m more relaxed than I have been and that reflects in my results.

PEZ: What’s the programme, now?
DF: The Nationals on Sunday then we’ll be going back to the States; we have the Boise Twilight criterium, then the Cascade Classic stage race – I think we’ll be back against Mancebo there – then the big goal is the Tour of Britain.

PEZ: Have you been preparing for the Nationals?
DF: Yes, I’ve been looking forward to them; I was well into a three week block of training for them when I went to Beauce.

But it’s always better to ride a stage race for preparation than it is to train – you get massage every night, your food is made for you, you get looked after and it’s a lot easier mentally than having to go out and do big training runs back to back.

PEZ: What has Dan Fleeman still to do in cycling?
DF: It’s perhaps not going to happen now, but I’ve always wanted to ride a Grand Tour – I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t.

I’ve ridden cobbled Classics, Ardennes Classics, Paris-Nice, Romandie and Lombardy but my one regret is not riding a Grand Tour.

Fleeman is a BikePure athlete.

PEZ: And the Fleeman Tour forecast?
DF: Contador to win from Andy Schleck and Chris Horner; with Bradley Wiggins somewhere between fifth and tenth.


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