Posted by Editoress on 06/23/06
Rollin Dominates Stage One of La Coupe de la Paix
Courtesy La Coupe de La Paix
Translated by Evi Arsenault
On Thursday June 22 the first of four criteriums that make up Quebecs Superweek La Coupe de la Paix - a nationally sanctioned race series, took place in Laval, Quebec. Ontarian Merrill Collins (La Bicicletta) took the top womens honours, while amoung the men Dominique Rollin (VC Roubaix) dominated the race.
The event, though only in its third year of existence already possesses a high profile with the participation of two foreign teams: Australian Team southaustralia.com-AIS and the Team Betauwers of Holland. With a record $50 000 up for grabs in prize money, La Coupe de la Paix will surely develop into a major competition in the North American road racing calendar.
Just before the womens race, a special event took place a race organized to initiate young riders into the sport. Thanks to the generosity of Kevin Lacombe (Volkswagen Trek), the youth of Laval (the races host city for Stage One) had an enriching and unique racing experience beside some of Canadas best.
In the womens event the racers were few, but the competition was high. With only 20 laps and 48 K to complete, the womens pack roared off. With four laps completed, Gina Grain (Colavita), the 2006 Worlds Silver Medalist in Track Cycling for Scratch racing made a solo break. The pack was hot on her heels however and caught up the following lap lead by Merrill Collins (La Bicicletta). The two women combined their efforts to keep the pack away but it was Collins who took gold in a sprint finish, with Grain coming in for second place. Quebecoise rider Anne Samplonius (Biovail) took third place, winning the pack sprint in 1minute 37 seconds from Collins.
The mens pack also began their race fast and furiously; only two laps in of 30 a group of six riders made a move to break away from the peloton. The break away consisted of Dominique Rollin (Vélo Club Roubaix), Alexandre Lavallée (Louis Garneau Optik), Nicholas Rowe (Espoirs Laval), Benjamin Martel (Sleeman Clear Énergie) and two Australians, Wesley Sulzberger and Sean Finning.
With six laps to go, Rollin, clearly stronger than his adversaries made a solo break for the final victory. A meager 24 seconds later, Sulzberger sprinted in ahead of Lavallée for second and third respectively. The pack sprint for the seventh position was won by Olympic Team Track Pursuit Champion Peter Dawson, from southaustralia.com-AIS.
Stage Two of La Coupe de la Paix will take place Friday in Mascouche; the women will be the first to race at 10:00am, followed by the Mens race at 12:00pm.
1. Merrill Collins (La Bicicletta / J. Lindeberg)
2. Gina Grain (Colavita)
3. Anne Samplonius (Biovail)
1. Dominique Rollin (Vélo Club Roubaix)
2. Wesley Sulzberger (SouthAustralia.com)
3. Alexandre Lavallée (Louis Garneau Optik)
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