UCI Road World Cup 2006
Melchers defends Flanders title
Ina Yoko-Teutenberg retains World Cup lead
Sunday2 April 2006, 112km
Mirjam Melchers van Poppel (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) scored an important victory in the third edition of the Tour of Flanders for women. Last year, she won the race, but only after a lead group had followed official cars into the deviation and missed the finish. They clearly should have continued on the parcours for the final km of the race.
In 2006, Melchers created her own destiny. She was out on her own for the final stages of the event, chased hard by Christiane Soeder (Univega Pro Team), who maintained her position despite losing fellow chaser, Edwig Pitel (Biancho - Aliverti- Kookai). In fact, Soeder caught Melchers in the final run-in to the finish, but was unable to take on the Dutchwoman in the sprint.
Melchers had accelerated strongly on the Valkenberg, to make the race-winning move - a similar point in the race to where both the previous editions' winning moves have been made. Melchers had been part of a break which included the pair of Soeder and Pitel earlier in the race. The Valkenberg is placed 80km into the race, 32km from the finish and provides an ideal position for riders to escape for a lone victory. Melchers' team-mate Loes Gunnewijk, who joined the Buitenpoort team over the winter, opened up a small gap on her group of three to finish third.
The result is enough to keep Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (T-Mobile) in the World Cup leader's jersey for another round. The German finished eleventh, 2 minutes 38 seconds down on Melchers van Poppel.
Next World Cup race takes place after the Track World Championships (Bordeaux) on 19th April. The Fleche Wallone sees the riders taking on part of the course used by the men in their "Classic" Pro Tour event.
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