September 28/03 9:53 am - Grand Prix Féminin International: Stage 4 story
Posted by Editoress on 09/28/03
Grand Prix Féminin International du Canada Alma QC
Five hours after Judith Arndt (Team Germany) solidified her lead at the GP Feminin International du Canada with a stellar ride in the time trial, the field lined up for a 40 lap criterium in downtown Alma. Arndt's lead of 1:37 over Christiane Soeder (Austria) and Lyne Bessette (Canada) was pretty safe, but there were opportunities for a shuffle among the riders in the second to fifth position, which were only separated by 7 seconds. Besides the 6-4-2 second bonuses at the finish, there was an intermediate sprint with 16 laps to go that offered 3-2-1 second bonuses.
The race, on a lopsided circle with a small rise on the finishing portion, was animated from the start, with Manon Jutras (Canada) attacking on lap 2 and Trixie Worrack (Germany) chasing her down. This set the stage for the race: Canada would attack and Germany would chase. Belgium and Genesis-Scuba also made a few abortive efforts, but it was primarily Team Canada that was the aggressors. The reward was in the intermediate time sprint, which Bessette won, taking possession of second place overall, after starting the stage 22 one-hundredths of a second behind Soeder.
"It wasn't planned to go for the time bonus, we just wanted to keep the race fast and aggressive, to burn some people off. I just saw an opportunity - Tina's (Mayolo-Pic, Genesis-Scuba) team mate was starting a leadout and I managed to get on her wheel ahead of Tina and then came around at the end."
After the intermediate sprint, the riders settled down a bit to rest up for the finish. Jutras tried one more attack at the start of the last lap, but at the line it was Germany's Regina Schleicher easily taking her second stage win.
Today the GP Feminin concludes with a 94 kilometre circuit race - 11 laps of an 8.5 kilometre circuit. There are two intermediate time bonus sprints (3-2-1 seconds) and 10, 6 and 2 seconds for the top three on the stage, so the podium past first place is far from decided. The stage begins at 1:00 pm EDT.