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Stage 719 – Edmundston to Sainte Anne de Madawaska

The border between Canada and the United States at the most northern tip of Maine (USA) lies in the middle of the St John River. After stage 718 arrived in the outskirts of Edmundston at the southern end of the Madawaska River where it flows into the St John, stage 719 rolls through the town, heading south east, then continues on that tack, maintaining a healthly two miles from the river for the most part but heading the same direction on the Canadian side of the border. It’s another big, lumpy stage with over a thousand feet of ascent and sadly, the worst of the climbing is reserved for the second half.

The rollout from the Madawaska River north of Edmundston is initially uphill as snakes beneath the hills to the north and the Fraser Edmundston Golf Course to the south. However as it departs the town, the route picks up the line of the St John River before crossing the Iroquois River at four miles and descending further, albeit lumpily, to get ever closer to the St John opposite St David in the USA on the opposite bank at six miles.

As the river meanders, so does the road, and although the terrain is relatively flat to twelve miles, it’s never completely so. The fun doesn’t start until after Highway 2 has crossed the Riviere Verte which flows into the St John at Green River after twelve miles. From that point on, the road remains slightly further away from the St John than it had previously and that inevitably means climbing up into the hills in this remote part of southern Canada.

The road rises almost two hundred feet between miles twelve and thirteen. It then loses all that elevation, and more, as it descends to cross the Riviere Quisbis at sixteen miles: the Quisbis flows into the St John two miles to the south. The biggest and steepest climb of the stage then kicks in as the highway rises over three hundred feet in a just over a mile to split the gap between Quisbis Lake and the St John River at the highest point of the stage.

Still heading south east and still only a couple of miles from the US border, the road descends off the hill down towards the Grande Riviere River, but fails to make it on two counts: the stage finishes just before reaching the river, and the road starts rising again after crossing the Notre Dame De Lourdes Road just before the line, so the river probably wouldn’t be visible from the finishing line anyway. Ironically for such a big stage, the lowest point on it was at Notre Dame De Lourdes Road just half a mile from the finish.

Distance: 23 miles / 37 kilometres

Ascent: 1093 feet / 333 metres

RGT Magic Road: 744gxXXMjMun

Total distance: 22.5 mi
Max elevation: 867 ft
Min elevation: 554 ft
Total climbing: 1094 ft
Total descent: -977 ft

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