Posted by Editor on 08/25/00
Bessette Closes In
This was to be the stage that Lyne Bessette (Canadian National) took charge at the Grand Prix Feminin, and she did not disappoint, winning the stage and closing to within 16 seconds of leader Sarah Symington (British National).
The 100 kilometre third stage began in Richford, Vermont, and the constant rollercoaster climbs immediately put some members of the peloton in trouble. However, it wasn't until the race was a quarter over that a frustrated Jeannie Longo (Bermuda/France) finally got the show under way. For 40 kilometres Longo was out in front, climbing with grace and rhythm.
"I was getting very worried when her (Longo) lead reached 1 minute and 15 seconds", admitted Bessette. "But, my team mate Anne Samplonius came up and told me not to panic, to ride my own rhythm. With the wind in her face, Longo would have trouble, said Anne." It was wise advice, and a group of 9, including Bessette, Samplonius, Symington and Pam Schuster (International Mixed Team), eventually reeled in the French legend.
With 15 kilometre to go, the final selection was made, with the quartet of Bessette, Longo, Cerie Gilfillan (British National) and 17 year old junior sensation Nicole Cooke (Wales) dropping the others. Bessette began attacking the others in the last kilometres, but was unable to drop them. It ended up not mattering, as Canadian Olympic team member's finishing kick was strong enough to hold off Cooke at the line. Symington finished in the chase group, 49 seconds back.
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