May 31/04 6:11 am - Tour du Grand Montreal: Stage 1 story
Posted by Editor on 05/31/04
Tour du Grand Montréal Montreal
Courtesy Giana Roberge
Genesis Scuba off to a raging start in Tour of Montreal
Mayolo-Pic, Demet Barry and Bessette take top podium spots
The three day, four stage, Tour of Montreal kicked off today with a short 3.5 kilometer prologue in recent Montreal World Cup winner's Genevieve Jeanson's hometown of LaChine. The morning dawned bright and clear with light winds. The pancake flat bike path course featured a tailwind on the way out and a steady headwind coming home early in the day, but gradually faded as the morning ticked by.
After Saturday's World Cup win, Jeanson certainly was an obvious favorite for the Tour. Last year's defending champion, Quark's Lyne Bessette, could be seen chatting with the media, a confident smile, clearly happy to be racing in her backyard for her fans. Along with a strong Canadian contingent, the roster had remarkable European flavor with Jeannie Longo, Barbara Heeb, Judith Arndt, Diana Ziliute and Petra Rossner all competing. The Australian Team also had a good representation with World Cup leader Oenone Wood leading her National Team. Yet, despite the depth of the European riders, it was the American Teams that swept the podium, with Mayolo-Pic, flanked by her strong Genesis Team taking top honors. Just a whisper behind the Georgian was American Dede-Demet Barry, coming off two very strong wins at the recent Tour de L'Aude. In the third podium spot was Quark's Bessette, just barely nudging out Arndt in fourth.
The race played out quickly with Sue Palmer Komar taking the top time early on. Jeanson then came across with a time of 4:08 but the young rider was shaking her head, knowing her time would not stand. It was her Rona teammate, Katrina Grove taking the lead, but only for a short time, when Arndt finally broke the 4 minute barrier. From Arndt's time, it was then a quick burst of times faster, but only by hundredths of a second until finally Mayolo-Pic threw down the fastest time. With Bessette, Longo and Demet Barry still remaining in the line-up, Mayolo must have been all nerves hoping her time would be good enough. In the end, it saw her to the top of the podium, into the leader's jersey, and to one of the biggest wins of her season - an excellent triumph for Genesis-Scuba.
Tonight's stage is a 50 kilometer criterium with time bonus sprints on the line. With Mayolo's strength as a sprinter, she should see tomorrow's stage into yellow, however, Bessette and Barry have strong teams with a depth to give Genesis plenty of challenge in defending Mayolo's slender lead.