Posted by Editoress on 05/29/05
Women's World Cup Cycling: Genevieve on top!
By Leigh Hargrove
The rain held off (for a change) in Montreal where the world's best women gathered together to compete at the seventh event of the World Cup cycling series. An international field of just under 100 riders rolled onto the start/finish line to compete for a win in Saturday's race.
World Cup leader Susanne Ljungskog was in attendance, alongside Buitenpoort-Flexpoint teammates Mirjam Melchers Van Poppel and American Amber Neben (fresh off a win at the women's Tour de L'Aude). Trailing four points behind Ljungskog in World Cup standings was Nurnberger Versicherung rider Oenone Wood. Wood was in good company with teammates Australian Olivia Gollan, current World Champion Judith Arndt, Madeleine Lindberg and Regina Schleicher at her side.
There were a lot of Canadians out including ACDA-Rona rider, and last year's winner of the Montreal World Cup, Genevieve Jeanson, Webcor's Erinne Willock (fresh off an eighth place overall at L'Aude), Ellicycle Sport expert Louis Garner rider Lynn Bessette (fourth place at L'Aude) and Sue Palmer (Colavita/Cooking Light).
The ladies field was out for twelve laps of the 8.3km circuit.
The first ten laps remained relatively calm. Bessette comments on the status of events. "This race always seems like it's always the same. people wait, wait, waiting! I wish I could - you can't do anything if you're alone really. If you want to attack you need other people to counter, and keep things moving."
Willock agrees. "It was a waiting game pretty much. Until the last two laps it didn't get very hard. There were attacks with two to go. Lynn Gaggioli went twice and Buitenpoort chased those down."
In the end the race came down to the last three hundred meters. Although the pack had whittled down to approximately fifteen riders, the best of the best were there, including Jeanson. "Andre (Genevieve's coach) told me to attack at 300 metres, you have to give the first punch! Right at the three hundred metre mark, Erinne attacked, and I said, I'm going to follow her and the moment she slows down I go - and it happened just like that!"
Jeanson went on to win the race by fifteen metres in front of Wood. Mirjam Melchers Van Poppel was third. Willock's efforts paid off and she held on for passed for sixth place, a personal world cup best for the rider, her second top ten international result this week. She was 15th in Montreal last year.
Willock recalled her attack. "Last time up the hill was a bit of a drag race! It was a hard pace. I initiated the sprint with 300 metres to go and I went too early, even 50 metres later would have been better. Even two more people passed me at the line."
Bessette was 18th in today's race, and seemed content with the outcome of the day's ride. "For us it was a good day, it was the Quebecois that won, it was good for us. I thought the Europeans would do more, be more aggressive." The Quebec rider was fourth overall last week at the Tour de L'Aude and rode near the front of the pack for most of the race. "I got back from France, I did great in Tour de L'Aude but I suffered in Tour de L'Aude too, but I got in a good break one day and managed to hold it off."
Kirsten Robbins was riding with the Canadian National Team and was continually riding at the front of the pack throughout the race. She finished 22nd.
Canadian Merrill Colllins (Diet Cheerwine) finished 44th in her first World Cup event and was quite excited before the race. "I think it's a great opportunity. I've never done something so big and so amazing. I don't know what to expect, I guess we'll find out in a couple of hours what's going on. It's my first World Cup and probably the biggest race I've ever done."
Canadian Tara Ross (Diet Cheerwine) recently stopped working full-time in order to devote more of her time to racing bikes. She finished 53rd today. "I think not working full-time is really crucial for the recovery from doing all these big races. I feel a lot more solid, the races are still hard but I find as the season progresses I am getting stronger. I'm really excited."
Canadian Cycling Association performance coordinator, Sean O'Donnell was pleased about the day's lineup of events. "It's a great event for cycling in Canada. I think among the top riders in the world it's become one of the events that everyone has circled on their calendar, everyone tries to make an effort and attend this event. The course speaks for itself. The course is one of the hardest that you'll find on the women's circuit worldwide, it's a very challenging course. It's always great to see some of the top riders coming out to contest such a great course."
Wood's second place finish put her back into the World Cup leader's jersey after the seventh event here today in Montreal.
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