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June 1/05 4:00 am - Tour du Grand Montreal: Rigaud Road Race Story & photos


Posted by Editoress on 06/1/05
 

Tour du Grand Montreal

Photos by Andrea Brewer

Stage Three: Rigaud Road Race, 120.2km
By Leigh Hargrove

Geneviève Jeanson (RCDA-RONA) is certainly coming to form this season. A first lap effort by Biovail's Lynn Gaggioli pushed Jeanson to follow suit and the two broke away in the first twenty-five kilometres of the race. Gaggioli was caught after remaining out with Jeanson for fifty kilometres.

After a seventy-kilometre break, Jeanson was also reeled in, mostly due to the efforts of the Neuberger-Versicherung team. However, she was first caught by Canadian Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) in defense of her yellow jersey teammate, Christine Thorburn.

With the pack together for the remaining twenty kilometres, Willock and Thorburn went to Plan B. Willock explains, "the plan was that if there was still a group together at the base of the last climb we were going to attack, Christine and I. Christine was still working with Neunberger to bring Geneviève back, so I went. We had to bring her back if we wanted any chance of keeping the yellow jersey. We regrouped again, and came in for the bunch sprint.

Willock recalled the last kilometres of the race. "Thorburn tried attacking on the last lap and got a great gap with Oenone Wood (Nurnberger Versicherung) and Geneviève. Then I tried and Oenone was right on me. It came to the bunch sprint and Neunberger took they lead and they were strong. Judith Arndt (Nurnberger Versicherung) led to the bottom of the climb, and Edita Pucinskaite (TEAM S.A.T.S) who actually initiated the sprint, went, and Oenone was right on that."

Wood won her second stage in a row - and moved into second place in GC. Dorte Lohse Rasmussen (TEAM S.A.T.S) was second, and Jeanson had the legs to hang on for third in the sprint.

Geneviève's efforts today moved her into the leader's jersey with two more stages remaining. "It's going to be very nerve-wracking. I think Oenone has a little edge on me on the sprint...but I believe I can defend my Queen of the Mountain (jersey)."

Earlier it was reported that Lyne Bessette was rushed off to the hospital after an early crash. We spoke with Lyne Bessette's manager hours after the race. The doctor has told her to take two to three days off. She is suffering from a concussion but there are no broken bones. She broke her collarbone a few years ago - so landing on it didn't help. Lyne is marked with a few bruises however it sounds like she will have a speedy recover.

Bessette's Dad was also sent to the hospital simultaneously but everything worked out ok and he is doing just fine.

Kirsten Robbins who is racing with the Canadian National Development Team this week at the Grand Tour du Montreal had a great race, finishing 17th. "I'm really happy with it. I've been discussing it with Kris Westwood and I decided it was much harder than the World Cup. Reason being that it was a much more difficult course. Two pretty good climbs on it...it was very aggressive today, a lot of attacking. I was seeing stars at some points today just to stay in there. I'm really happy I could stay in with the front group. It was definitely, definitely a hard race!" The Canadian rider is sponsored by the women's trade team, Victory Brewing/Specialized.

Audrey Lemieux (Quark) also rode a strong race and finished 20th. "I'm happy (about my finish) because it is such a hard stage race, and I stayed with the main group for almost the whole race until the last 15km, after the big hill, I did all I could."

 


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