July 14/01 8:13 am - Ottawa GP (Women)
Posted by Editor on 07/14/01
Rona Report on Ottawa GP
Gatineau Park, Québec, 14 July 2001 - While their leader Geneviève Jeanson is away training in New England and Gabriela Ferrat is back home in California, the RONA cycling team continues to sharpen their own skills, taking five of seven top spots in the Ottawa Bicycle Club Grand Prix, in the hills of Gatineau Park, a few kilometres north of the Canadian capital city.
Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA), only under contract with the team since last Thursday, exhibited a superb first-time performance in her new team's colours, finishing the race with top honours. Teammate Manon Jutras (CAN, RONA) came in second, 8" behind, followed by the three remaining RONA team members, who placed 4th (Amy Jarvis), 5th (Mélanie Nadeau) and 7th (Raphaële Lemieux).
The race through Gatineau Park featured four laps around a 21-km circuit, for a total distance of 84 km. Last year's winner, Manon Jutras, described it as, "A good, demanding course. There's an upward climb of almost 5 km, followed by a long descent. But the descent is actually punctuated with a lot of rolling terrain, which means constant, considerable climbing and no respite.â€°
In this race, the 30 women senior 1-2 participants formed a single peloton with the masters 40 + men. By the end of the first lap, the pack remained intact, with Melissa Holt, Manon Jutras and Ann Samplonius (CAN, Intersports) the consistent front-runners.
The break came early in the second lap, as Holt, Jutras, Jarvis, Samplonius and Sophie St-Jacques (CAN, VW) splintered away from the main bunch to join the lead group with nearly ten men. A second group (with rider Mélanie Nadeau) was positioned slightly less than 2 minutes down and a third, which included Raphaële Lemieux, just under 3 minutes.
At the front, Jutras and Holt were animating the race. "I attacked constantly,â€° Jutras explained later. â€žAt one point I broke away with two men, who unfortunately didn't want to continue,â€° she lamented. â€žIt's really too bad, because I felt we could have carried it through to the end." Instead, the trio was caught by the lead group, who then staved off the attacks.
So the race was played out on the last 500-metre uphill stretch that led to the finish line. Jutras set up for her sprint, taking the wheel of Samplonius, while Holt waited to see which man would launch the sprint. "Two men attacked at the same time and I threw myself in with them ,â€° said Melissa Holt. That made it possible to sweep ahead of the other girls." Aware that teammate Holt was sailing towards victory, Jutras concentrated on Samplonius, to clinch second place for RONA.
"I was a little nervous at the idea of my first race with the RONA team,â€° said "Meshy" Holt after the race. But the girls were super supportive. It's incredible how hard Manon works during the race! I was happy with my race, and it's good preparation for the upcoming Tour de Toona" (Pennsylvania in early August).
Ottawa Bicycle Club Grand Prix
Women senior 1-2 classification
(Times are unofficial)
1 Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA) 84 km in 2:16:40
2 Manon Jutras (RONA) at 0:08
3 Ann Samplonius ( Intersports) 0:12
4 Amy Jarvis (RONA) 1:59
5 Mélanie Nadeau (RONA) 4:46
6 Sophie St-Jacques (VW) 4:53
7 Raphaële Lemieux (RONA) 10:20
8 Ann Turrin (Independent) 10:34
9 Stéphanie Bourbeau (Cycles Bernard Hinault) 12:16
10 Anita Lacler (Brampton Cycling) (s.t.)