April 25/08 6:41 am - Canadian Women's Road Team in Europe
Posted by Editoress on 04/25/08
Canadian Women's Team has Successful European Project
National team coach Vincent Jourdain has provided the following report:
The Canadian women's team on the road began in a beautiful way its European project with a 6th place by Alex Wrubleski in the World Cup Ronde van Drenthe in the Netherlands on April 12th. The objective of the Canadian team is to score as many UCI points as possible in order to guarantee a place among the top 16 nations on May 31st and get the maximum 3 places for the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Wrubleski, who experienced for the first time racing in Holland, managed to get into a good position in the sections of cobblestones, and placed herself among the leaders. Chantal Beltman of Team High Road was in a breakaway from mid-race, and was able to finish alone. Alex led the sprint in a group of 22 riders 6 seconds behind Beltman and was beaten by the experienced Marianne Vos, Ina Teutenberg, Suzanne De Goede and Rochelle Gilmore.
The next day, at the Novillon Eurocup van Drenthe, another UCI 1.1 race, Alex Wrubleski to continued where she had left off the day before. Wrubleski contested a small group sprint to finally finish 9th. Kristine Armstrong finished alone in front.
The team then drove back to Belgium where we have established our base in the beautiful region of the Ardennes. An ideal place to train and prepare for the roads of the Fleche Wallonne, the 5th round of the World Cup which took place a few kilometres from our place of residence.
In the meantime, we made a brief trip to Holland to compete in the Ronde van Gelderland (UCI 1.2) Saturday, April 19th. Once again, this time it was the turn of Anne Samplonius to snatch victory with a solo breakaway in the final kilometers of this classic Hollandaise, and that in front of the cream of world cycling women. Another very important 40 UCI points.
Finally, the Fleche Wallone for women. All the best cyclists in the world were on the starting line: Vos, Arndt, Cooke, Luperini ... The course is very difficult with several narrow and steep climbs in the last 50 kilometres. The pack is nervous. More than 160 participants fight to be in the lead. After a few attacks by the British rider Nicole Cooke and a breakaway threat by the Italian Luperini, a group of 14 riders with Alex Wrubleski and a second twenty with Anne Samplonius take the lead in the race on the coast of Ben Ahin before the final difficult climb of this classic, located just over 10 km from the finish. The two groups joined in the descent towards Huy and arrive together at the foot of the mythical Huy climb, a rise of 1.3 kilometers which contains passages to over 20% and where there was a dense and very animated crowd.
It was finally Marianne Vos who managed to escape to victory, followed closely by the Italian Bastianelli, the German Judith Arndt and Canada's Alex Wrubleski, who did an incredible job to overcome all other competitors on the wall and collect 30 valuable UCI points.
With this result, Canada gets 97 points on this project! In the latest ranking made by the UCI on April 14th, we were in 15th place. At the next ranking we should move up to the 13th, a more than satisfactory result! Now, the team will conclude this project with two other UCI races. The Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs (UCI 1.2) to be held in Luxembourg on Saturday and the next day, the team will start the GP Stad Roeselare Belgium (UCI 1.2).
This project would not have been possible without the valuable assistance of L2RCP (Love to Ride Cycling Partners), a group of businessmen and individual Canadians. I want to thank them for their support, and especially their confidence in our project. They believe in women's cycling and especially the chances of our Canadian athletes to perform at the Beijing Olympic Games this summer.
Joining the team for the last two races:
Moriah Jo McGregor
Joìlle Numainville (last race only)
And without forgetting our mechanic Serge Grail, and our soigneur Michel l'Hoest. These two people were important elements for the success of this project and I would like to sincerely thank them for their work.