August 24/02 1:40 am - Rossner Regains World Cup Lead at Plouay
Posted by Editor on 08/24/02
Rossner Reclaims World Cup Lead - Plouay, France
Report courtesy Saturn
In a battle of wills, Petra Rossner and her Saturn Team were able to overcome a series of attacks from World Cup Leader Mirjam Melchers. Despite a very aggressive attempt to defend her jersey, at the end of the day, Melchers succumbed to Rossner's determination to reclaim the rainbow jersey.
The seventh stop in the nine race series was held on a circuit course around the quaint town of Plouay. The field raced eight, fourteen kilometer laps for a total of 113 kilometers. The course was very suitable for a World Cup course, challenging the riders with two climbs per lap but a fast finish for those left in the front group at the end of the 113 kilometers. With the majority of the field still recovering from the Grand Boucle which finished only six days ago, Melchers and her Farm Frites Team had ample opportunity to shake Rossner loose. Melchers began the day with a lead of fourteen points over the Saturn rider. Rossner and Melchers have already exchanged the jersey two times along the way to the final round in Rotterdam on September 15.
With the World Cup Overall so close, many teams were satisfied to wait it out as Saturn and Farm Frites battled it out, looking for an opportunity to capitalize. About halfway through the race, a group went away with Melchers in it. Rossner and her Saturn Team were left to bring it back, which they eventually did with Ina Teutenberg, Catherine Marsal, Kimberly Bruckner and Judith Arndt fighting fiercely to bring Rossner back onto terms with Melchers. The final time up the last climb before the finish, Rossner arrived at the top in the front group of six, but without any of her Saturn teammates. After covering two attacks, Rossner was unable to respond as Melchers gained a gap and flew away up the road. While watching the World Cup lead move away from her, Rossner radioed to Arndt, in the group behind her. In an unbelievable show of strength, Arndt was able to clear the chase group, bridge to Rossner and in four kilometers bring Rossner back to the front group. Catching the group with only five hundred meters remaining, Arndt delivered Rossner with just enough time to sprint. At the finish line, it was fellow German Regina Schleicher just edging out Rossner for the win, her second World Cup win. However, Rossner finished second in front of Susanne Lunjskog - hot off her second place finish in the Grand Boucle. More importantly for the Saturn Team, Melchers was fourth.
Melchers received 30 points for her fourth place finish, with Rossner taking 50. Rossner now leads the series by six points. The eighth World Cup round is in Switzerland on September 9th. Held on another circuit race with two climbs per lap, Rossner and her Saturn Team will have their work cut out defending the jersey from Melchers. However, in a similar position last year, with Anna Millward leading the series over Melchers, the Saturn team managed to defend on the same Swiss course.
1. Regina Schleicher (Ger) Michela Fanini Record Rox
2. Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn Cycling Team
3. Susanne Ljunskog (Swe) Vlaanderen - T-Interim Ladies
4. Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites
World Cup Standings
1 Petra Rossner (Ger) Saturn 259 points
2 Mirjam Melchers (Ned) Farm Frites-Hartol 253
3 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Michela Fanini Record Rox 168