Posted by Editoress on 07/30/03
The International - Tour de `Toona Altoona, Pennsylvania
Lyne Bessette Takes The Stage And The Overall Lead At Tour De Toona
Saturn's Lyne Bessette of Knowlton, Qué., got a brilliant stage win and took the yellow jersey off the back of RONA/Esker's Geneviève Jeanson of Lachine, Qué, at the end of an exciting third stage. After 153 kilometres of aggressive racing between Johnstown and Altoona, Bessette finally crossed the finish line 43 seconds before Jeanson. With an added 20-second bonus for her stage win, Bessette earned a total advantage of 63 seconds over her Canadian rival.
Jeanson now stands in second place, 32 seconds down from the overall lead, but keeps her red Queen of the Mountain jersey. Last year's winner, American Heather Albert of Team Basis, now ranks third, 1 minute and 9 seconds behind Bessette. American Tina Mayolo-Pic of Diet Rite now leads the Points (sprints) competition. In the team general classification, RONA/Esker trails Saturn by 43 seconds.
Jeanson set the tone for the day right out of Johnstown, less than five kilometres from the start, when she upped the tempo in the first ascent. Only Bessette stayed on her wheel, and only for a short while. But with a strong headwind, Jeanson quickly lost in the descent what she had gained on the way up. Bessette bridged, then the whole peloton reeled them in. "With a tailwind, maybe I could have gone all the way, but I won't find out this year", analyzed the young RONA/Esker leader after the stage. For a good 15 kilometres, the field managed to prevent the success of any of the numerous attacks.
Then Saturn's Ina Teutenberg managed to break away, with Magali Le Floc'h on her wheel. The duo went for 75-km together, to the foot of the infamous Knob Hill, at the top of which the second set of mountain points of the day were awarded. At the bottom, the pair had a 2 minute and 20 second lead over the chase group, which had boiled down to about 15 riders. After the 5-km climb up Knob Hill, Le Floc'h had left Teutenberg way behind her, but her lead over Jeanson and Bessette had melted down to 1' 30", as the two Canadians had put on the turbo.
The gap started to evaporate in the long descent that followed. The Jeanson-Bessette duo bridged to Le Floc'h and shortly after a very effective chase group reeled them in.
At about 10 kilometres from the finish, Bessette launched a powerful acceleration at the bottom of the last short climb of the day, and the rest of the group offered no effective response. Bessette finished the stage 34 seconds before Heather Albert and 41 seconds before Magali Le Floc'h. Jeanson came in 10th, 43 seconds behind the winner.
"Of course I'm disappointed that I have lost the yellow jersey", said Jeanson shortly after the race. "But the race was really exciting! It's always a challenge to take 32 seconds from Lyne (Bessette) and her Saturns, but we still have four stages to do it!"
Tomorrow's stage is three laps of a 32-km circuit around Hollidaysburg, for a total of 96 kilometres.
Stage 3 : Johnstown to Altoona, 152.9 km
1. Lyne Bessette (CAN, Saturn), 4:37:27
2. Heather Albert (USA, Team Basis), at 0:34
3. Magali Le Floc'h (FRA, RONA/Esker), 0:41
4. Lynn Gaggioli (USA, Velo Bella), 0:43
5. Sandy Espeseth (CAN, Victory Brewing /Amoroso)
6. Kori Kelly (USA, Diet Rite)
7. Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker)
8. Christine Thorburn (USA, Team Basis)
9. Grace Fleury (Genesis Scuba /FFCC)
10. Geneviève Jeanson (CAN, RONA/Esker), all s.t.
33. Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker), 32:32
42. Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA/Esker), 34:10
60. Catherine Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker), s.t.
73 starters, 71 finishers
1. Lyne Bessette (CAN, Saturn), 7:42:09
2. Geneviève Jeanson (CAN, RONA/Esker), at 0:32
3. Heather Albert (USA, Team Basis), 1:09
4. Jessica Phillips (USA, Saturn), 1:14
5. Susan Palmer-Komar (CAN, Genesis Scuba/FFCC), 1:27
6. Lynn Gaggioli (USA, Velo Bella), s.t.
7. Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker), 1:28
8. Cybil DiGuistini (CAN, Diet Rite), 1:29
9. Christine Thorburn (USA, Team Basis), 1:30
10. Kori Kelly (USA, Diet Rite), 1:37
15. Magali Le Floc'h (FRA, RONA/Esker), 1:52
33. Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker), 33:36
34. Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA/Esker), 35:01
37. Catherine Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker), 35:36
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