Canadian Cyclist


July 31/03 11:21 am - The International

Posted by Editoress on 07/31/03

The International - Tour de `Toona
Courtesy Team Saturn

Jeanson and Swindlehurst see their way to the top of the podium
Bessette and O'Neill retain lead

After yesterday's challenging 97 very hilly miles from Johnstown to Altoona, today's 60 mile circuit race around the small town of Hollidaysburg seemed benign. However even this three lap course held its own hidden tests with a sharp climb a few kilometers from the finish of each lap and undulating but calm conditions between.

The day began with new race leaders, with Saturn's Nathan O'Neill and Lyne Bessette both wearing their hard earned Yellow jerseys from yesterday's efforts. However, an unfortunate crash 150 meters from the finish saw race leader O'Neill hit the pavement face first and being rushed to the hospital. An MRI found that the Saturn rider has suffered a broken C2 and is currently being rushed to Pittsburgh for surgery.

In the men's race, Navigators Burke Swindlehurst attacked early and managed to stay for the entire race, finishing solo for the stage win. His time up on the pack of 31 seconds did little to move him into contention for the overall but brought the Navigator stage win count thus far at the International to two.

O'Neill's crash happened in the final kilometer and as such the race leader was given the same time as the field. However, O'Neill will be unable to start tomorrow's race and the jersey will return to Chris Baldwin who was second, 22 seconds behind O'Neill in the overall. Saturn's Tom Danielson is only 18 seconds back from Baldwin and is patiently waiting for the hefty climbs on Saturday to leave his mark.

In the women's race, the field saw a two woman break of Meshy Holt (Rona) and Nicole Demars (Victory Brewing) gain a maximum of 2:40. However, with team GC at stake, Saturn's Megan Elliott and Ina Teutenberg brought the two back to the field with 10 kilometers left in the race. From there the sprinter's teams took over, keeping the pace high and negating any opportunity for attacks. At the bottom of the sprint line it was Laura Van Gilder (Saturn) to jump first, but Rona's Genevieve Jeanson was too quick and passed Van Gilder. Bessette did all she could to close the gap, but in the end it was not enough and the regal "climber" Jeanson won her second stage of the event. Bessette finished in second ahead of Van Gilder. Although Jeanson collected 15 second for the win, Bessette's second place took back five of those seconds, bringing her lead over Jeanson to 28 seconds.

Tomorrow's race is another circuit race. The eighty miles will take the riders around the Martinsburg area and has a fast, technical finish in which the sprinter's will have one more day to play before the race heads back to the mountains on Saturday.

1. Burke Swindlehurst - Navigators
2 Jason McCartney (7UP-Maxxis)
3 Brice Jones (7UP-Maxxis)

1. Genevieve Jeanson - Rona
2. Lyne Bessette - Saturn
3. Laura Van Gilder - Saturn


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