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Race Results

Trophee D'Or

La Chapelle Saint-Ursin, France

Stage 1    Stage 2    Stage 3    Stage 4    Stage 5     Stage 6 / Final GC

Karen Bockel fourth of the stage SARAH ULMER WINS HER SECOND STAGE AT THE TROPHÉE D'OR

Aubigny-sur-Nère, France, August 30, 2003 - Today's climbs damaged the peloton, but not as much as some expected. A solid group of forty riders got at the finish at the same time and finally New Zealand sprinter Sarah Ulmer (Internations 1) won the only "mountain" stage of the 2003 Trophée d'Or feminine, in front of Nobili Road Runner's Alison Wright, Berlin RG's Hanka Kupfernagel and RONA/Esker's Karen Bockel. Ulmer won her second stage in this six-stage race held in the centre of France.

But Australian Olivia Gollan (Team Australia) keeps her Golden leader's jersey, and her fellow Australian Alison Wright keeps her green points leader's jersey. Nobili Road Runner's Sigrid Corneo took the mountain jersey.

In spite of the tight control that the Aussies keep on the peloton every day to protect their leader Gollan, the race was on almost from the gun - Canadian Andrea Hannos (RONA/Esker) took initiated the hostilities before the race reached the 5-km mark. Even if their break was short-lived, Hannos, the French Virginie Moinard (France) and Elodie Touffet (Orléans/Pays de la Loire) and Italian Silvia Valsecchi (Nobili Road Runner) set the tone for the day. As soon as they were reeled in, at kilometre 8, a group of six formed at the front and got away. There were Zlatica Gavlakova Bazola (Gervais Lilas), Canadian Erinne Willock (RONA/Esker), New Zealander Rosalind Reekie-May (Internations 1) Nobili Road Runners' Silvia Valsecchi and Sigrid Corneo, while Natalie Bates was Team Australia's observer in residence on the break.

After 10 kilometres the break had built a gap of one minute. Another 15 kilometres and the lead culminated at 2 minutes and 20 seconds. Toward kilometre 35 German Birgit Hollmann (Rostex Quantum) got out of the peloton and launched a counter-attack. At the same time Valsecchi was dropped by the break. Hollmann's move energized the peloton and the break's lead started to melt. The Golden jersey herself initiated the coup de grâce that joined the break and the first peloton - the chase and the day's main climbs had thinned the main field to less than 40 women. The last 30 kilometres were completed at a quick pace. There were numerous attacks, but the Aussies closed the doors on the race. All efforts by RONA/Esker's Karen Bockel and Magali Le Floc'h, Nobili Road Runner's Zoulfia Zabirova and Rostex Quantum's Hollmann, were neutralised by Gollan's private guard. Ulmer, up to then discreetly well-positioned, burst in a fast sprint and got the better of Wright, Kupfernagel and Bockel.

"We had decided to make the race today and the girls raced very well, even though we didn't quite make it at the end", said RONA/Esker's assistant manager Jim Williams. "We raced aggressively and were in all the breaks." "When our lead topped the two-minute mark, I thought we could stay away, added young Erinne Willock. And then the peloton attacked, we quickly realised there was nothing we could do. But I had a lot of fun while it lasted!"

Tomorrow's sixth and ultimate stage, Boussac - Saint-Amand-Montrond, is essentially a 105-km descent, finishing on a closed circuit in the streets of Saint-Amand. A criterium atmosphere to end this fine race.

Fifth Stage : Aubigny-sur-Nère – Aubigny-sur-Nère

Stage Standings

Rank

Name (team)

Time

1

Sarah Ulmer  (NZL, Internations 1)

96.4 km in 2h34’54” (37.34 km/h)

2

Alison Wright (AUS, Nobili Road Runner)

s.t.

3

Hanka Kupfernagel (GER, Berlin RG)

s.t.

4

Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker)

s.t.

5

Olivia Gollan (AUS, Australia)

s.t.

6

Sharon Vandromme (BEL, Belgie)

s.t.

7

Magali Le Floc’h (FRA, RONA/Esker)

s.t.

8

Volha Hayeva (BLR, Internations 3)

s.t.

9

Rosalind Reekie May (NZL, Internations 1)

s.t.

10

Heidi Van de Vijver (BEL, Belgie)

s.t.

19

Catherine Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker)

s.t.

28

Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker)

s.t.

36

Meshy Holt (CAN, RONA/Esker)

13”

65

Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA/Esker)

10’ 10”

84 starters, 78 classed

 General Classification after five stages

Rank

Name (team)

Time

1

Olivia Gollan (AUS, Australia)

10h 56’ 17”

2

Hanka Kupfernagel (GER, Berlin RG)

7”

3

Oenone Wood (AUS, Australia)

11”

4

Zoulfia Zabirova (RUS, RRG Nobili)

13”

5

Tetyana Stiajkina (BLR, Internations 3)

14”

6

Sarah Ulmer (NZL, Internations 1)

51”

7

Sonia Huguet (FRA, France)

1’10”

8

Alison Wright (AUS, RRG Nobili)

s.t.

9

Lada Kozlikova (CZE, Rostex Quantum)

s.t.

10

Volha Hayeva (BLR, Internations 3)

1’12”

11

Magali Le Floc’h (FRA, RONA/Esker)

1’ 35”

13

Catherine Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker)

1’ 55”

20

Meshy Holt (NZL, RONA/Esker)

6’ 51”

23

Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker)

8’ 11”

26

Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker)

8’ 25”

55

Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA/Esker)

19’ 46”

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Stage 6

Saint-Amand-Montrond, France

Magali Le Floc'h third of the stage GOLD FOT GOLLAN, THIRD STAGE FOR ULMER

It was another great day for riders from down under, as New Zealand's Sarah Ulmer (Internations 1) won her third stage and Aussie Olivia Gollan (Team Australia) confirmed her overall victory at the Trophée d'Or here in central France. American Heather Albert (Internations 3) and France's Magali Le Floc'h (RONA/Esker) took second and third place in the stage respectively, in a stage that was fast (more than 40 km/h) and aggressive from beginning to the end.

Italian Sigrid Corneo (Nobili Road Runners) kept her polka dot climber's jersey, while Australian Alison Wright (Nobili Road Runners) kept her points leader green jersey. The white jersey (under 23) was awarded to Bielorussian Volha Hayeva (Internations 3).

Before the start, one could have expected a fun ride, when a group of Kiwi riders and staff (including RONA/Esker's Meshy Holt) gave the crowd a demonstration of Hakka, the traditional Maori dance. But Hakka is a war dance. Attacks started almost from the gun. RONA/Esker's Magali Le Floc'h and Karen Bockel quickly tested the peloton's reactions, and shortly after a group formed, a little cluster at a time, until 13 women were out in front after 10 kilometres of raicng. Le Floc'h and Bockel were there, as their Teammate Erinne Willock and Brigit Hollmann (Rostex Quantum), Emma James (Team Australia), Heather Albert, Sandrine Marcuz-Moreau (French Nationals) and others. But the group lacked cohesion and was reeled in after seven kilometres. Ten kilometres down the road a major crash happened at the back of the field and several women had to abandon, a few of them being driven to hospital in an ambulance.

Three kilometres later, German Daniela Kenty (Luxembourg Mixte) attacked, followed by Carine Peter (Gervais Lilas) and Cathy Marsal (RONA/Esker). The three created a gap and Cathy Marsal, usually more comfortable on a flat course, won the last climber's sprint of the competition, at the top of a climb much tougher than we would have expected by looking at the race book. This climb did put an end to the break, however, but broke the peloton in three pieces and generated a new attack, this time by Sylvie Riedle (Gervais Lilas) and Erinne Willock. They were joined by a small group, including young Hayeva, well positioned in G.C. Hayeva's presence forced the Aussies to react, but race leader Gollan had to supply her own defence. As soon as this break was reeled in another trio went away, with Heidi Van de Vijver, Zlatica Gavlakova Bazola (Gervais Lilas) and RONA/Esker's Karen Bockel. They stayed in front for almost 20 kilometres, enough for Bockel to win her team the most lucrative sprint primes of the day.

Another fistful of kilometres went by and Swiss Diana Rast (Mazza) fled, with Katie MacTier on her wheel, making sure the Golden jersey would be represented. But instead of playing passive observer, MacTier took the field by surprise and started to work. So the pair increased their gap to almost 50 seconds. Nobili Road Runners led the chase, but entering into Saint-Amand, with 25 kilometres remaining in town, the lead was still more than 20 seconds. MacTier dropped her Swiss companion Rast. Behind, Magali Le Floc'h and Heather led the chase and said good-bye to the field. They shaved second after second, but then Sarah Ulmer came from behind and joined them in front. So four women rushed through the last five kilometres in front. A fearsome sprinter on any day, Ulmer looked fresher than the others. So instead of trying to outsprint her, Le Floc'h attacked in the last 400 metres. But Ulmer put on her turbo and no one could keep up with her.

"I was tired, we had chased at such a crazy pace!" said Le Floc'h. Plus I had to break in the last corner; you can't come back from that. Ulmer passed me 50 metres from the finish."

Sixth Stage : Boussac – Saint-Amand-Montrond

Stage Standings

Rank

Name (team)

Time

1

Sarah Ulmer  (NZL, Internations 1)

Les 105,7 km en 2h35’27” (40,8 km/h) (10`” bonif.)

2

Heather Albert (USA, Internations 3)

m.t. (6” bonif.)

3

Magali Le Floc’h (FRA, RONA/Esker)

m.t. (4’ bonif)

4

Katie MacTier (AUS, Team Australia)

1”

5

Sharon Vandromme (BEL, Belgie)

18”

6

Alison Wright (AUS, Nobili Road Runners)

m.t.

7

Hanka Kupfernagel (GER, Berlin RG)

m.t.

8

Volha Hayeva (BLR, Internations 3)

m.t.

9

Olivia Gollan (AUS, Team Australia)

m.t.

10

Heidi Van de Vijver (BEL, Belgie)

m.t.

22

Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker)

m.t.

42

Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker)

m.t.

48

Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA/Esker)

m.t.

49

Cathy Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker)

m.t.

50

Meshy Holt (NZL, TONA/Esker)

m.t.

78 starters, 72 classed

Final General Classification

Rank

Name (team)

Time

1

Olivia Gollan (AUS, Australia)

13h 32’ 2”

2

Hanka Kupfernagel (GER, Berlin RG)

7”

3

Oenone Wood (AUS, Australia)

11”

4

Zoulfia Zabirova (RUS, RRG Nobili)

13”

5

Tetyana Stiajkina (BLR, Internations 3)

14”

6

Sarah Ulmer (NZL, Internations 1)

23”

7

Sonia Huguet (FRA, France)

1’10”

8

Alison Wright (AUS, RRG Nobili)

m.t.

9

Lada Kozlikova (CZE, Rostex Quantum)

m.t.

10

Volha Hayeva (BLR, Internations 3)

1’12”

11

Magali Le Floc’h (FRA, RONA/Esker)

1’ 13”

14

Catherine Marsal (FRA, RONA/Esker)

1’ 55”

20

Meshy Holt (NZL, RONA/Esker)

6’ 51”

23

Karen Bockel (GER, RONA/Esker)

8’ 11”

26

Erinne Willock (CAN, RONA/Esker)

8’ 25”

50

Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA/Esker)

19’ 46”

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Team RONA/Esker is one of only two Canadian women's cycling teams in the Elite Category that are recognized by the International Cycling Union. The team is made up of four Canadian racers (Geneviève Jeanson, Andrea Hannos, Carrie Tuck and Erinne Willock), French racers Catherine Marsal and Magali Le Floc'h, New Zealander Melissa Holt, German Karen Bockel and American Kristen LaSasso. The team's web site is at www.ronateam.ca.

RONA is Canada's leading hardware and home renovation retailer (www.rona.ca). Esker is natural spring water from the north of Canada, sold in North America and Asia (www.eskerwater.com).

The team also receives equipment and service sponsorships from many companies, including Colnago, Biemme, Shimano, Michelin, Mavic, Diadora, Limar, Selle Italia, ITM, Look, CatEye, Tacx, Finish Line, Cane Creek, Saris, Power Tap, Cycles Lambert and Club Médico-Sportif.

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