June 20/01 10:57 am - Ontario News, HP Women's Challenge: Team Reports after Stage 8
Posted by Editoress on 06/20/01
Longest Day Evening Ride at Mansfield - June 21
The Mansfield Outdoor Centre will be open for trail riding on Thursday eve, the longest day of the year, from 5 pm until dusk. MOC is normally open weekends only due to school groups, but since school is just about over and summer camp hasn't begun yet, the trails can be open to celebrate the arrival of summer. Admission is $7 and includes a free BBQ. The trails are in great shape so if you're looking for a fun evening ride come on up to MOC on Airport Road, 10km north of Hwy 89. A map is on the web at www.mansfield-outdoors.com and phone is 705-435-4479. Don't forget the Skiis & Biikes Tuesday night race series at MOC - every Tuesday at 7pm sharp.
INTERSPORTS Cycling Team Race Report
HP Women's Challenge Stage 8 Magic Mountain Ski area became the newest addition to the roster of finish points for the HP Women's Challenge of 2001. Coming after 30 kilometres of climbing, this high desert finish would demand the most from the 80 odd racers left in the race. Early in the race, the Intersports Cycling Team, intent on reclaiming the Orange Sprinters Jersey from Nicole Freedman, set out to dictate the pace and assume control of the race. With the sprint nearing, Team Intersports began setting the tempo at the head of the race, keeping designate sprinter Cathy Marsal tucked in the wheels.
With half a mile to the line, the leadout was perfect and a swarm of blue was visible at the head of the race. On the line it was Marsal taking maximum points ahead of Goldy's Brooke Blackwelder followed by Intersports teammate Pia Sundstedt. Surprisingly Nicole Freedman had not scored any points. The tempo slowed slightly following the sprint as riders took bottles and caught their breath.
Shortly afterwards a soft attack by Intersports Pia Sundstedt led to a strong 8 rider break including Sundstedt, 3 Dutch riders, Kim Smith of AutoTrader, Krysty Scrymegour of Saturn, Emma Davies of the British National Team and Nicole Demars of 800.com. This group collaborated well and rode to a 3 minute advantage. At this point Earthlink's Amber Neben impressively rode across the gap with Boise Cascade's Melissa Holt.
After taking a few kilometres reprieve, Neben began attacking the break until with 10km to go, Neben had broken free from the group. Simultaneously, Jeannie Longo had upped the tempo in the main group behind taking with her race leader Bessette as well as 2 Germans, Ceris Gilfillan, Jolanta Polikeviciute, Allison Dunlap and Caroline Alexander of Intersports. Over the next 8km, Longo would drive the break constantly closing the gap to the original leaders.
With 4km to go the original break split in pursuit of Neben with Demars, Davies and Beltman in the lead. Shortly thereafter, Smith and Sundstedt were reabsorbed by the break. In the end, Neben would hold on for the win ahead of Demars, Beltman and Davies, while Bessette would lead home Longo some 6 seconds later. Intersports climbing trio of Alexander, Sundstedt and Espeseth would finish 13th, 15th and 18th respectively for 3rd team on the stage and the overall.
AutoTrader.com Team Report
Eighty Four riders began this 60.7 mile road race. The course traveled South along the Oregon Trail and was mostly flat with the finale on a 17 mile climb to the Magic Mountain Ski Area.
The field was content to remain in a bunch for the first half of the race. At mile 27, several teams started sending riders off the front in effort to get the right combination of riders in a workable breakaway. Eight riders eventually escaped and remained away until the base of the climb; Marielle van Scheppingen (Dutch National), Nicole Demars (800.com), Ghita Beltman (Dutch National), Emma Davies (Great Britain), Kristy Scrymgeour (Saturn), Pia Sundstedt (Intersport), Kim Smith (AutoTrader.com), and Angela Hillenga (Dutch National). The eight riders began the climb with a 3:52 gap on the main field. However 2 riders, Amber Neben (Earthlink) and Meshy Holt (Boise Cascade) bridged the gap and joined the break with 8 miles remaining in the race. Once reaching the break, Neben took short a breather before continuing up the climb and to the finish for an impressive solo stage win. Nicole Demars paced herself to second place, 1:29 behind the winner and Beltman held on for third with the same time.