UCI World Cup 2007
World Cup Round 6
In a race which took some time to come to life, the finishing kilometres were certainly exciting….. Montreal hosted the tenth running of the Canadian round of the World Cup, the sixth in the 2007 series. Although the skies were heavy earlier in the day, when the race began at noon, the sun was shining and the temperatures were in the mid-20'C. In a change from previous editions, the race start / finish area was at Avenue Du Parc, although the riders still had to face Mont Royal on each of the eleven laps.
An early break by Melissa Holt (ExpressCopy.com) and Ekaterina Malomura (Russia) lasted a couple of laps and extended to 43 seconds at one point. However, with the World Cup series points important to several riders in the event, the break was not allowed to succeed. Eventually, Melissa Holt was pulled back on the climb and although Malomura was allowed to ride solo off the front for a while, she was eventually brought back to the bunch too.
Active in chasing the breakaway and in creating her own attack, was Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Uniqa), the veteran French rider. Longo-Ciprelli caused problems for many riders with her strength at the front of the bunch on the climbs and actually broke away. At around half-distance, she and Russian, Elena Novikova, escaped together, but were caught by the time the bunch descended the other side of Mont Royal.
The race pace steadied for a couple of laps just after halfway, then, with three laps (approximately 30km) remaining, Fabiana Luperini (Menikini), Mara Abbott (Webcor) and Longo-Ciprelli's Uniqa team-mate, Edwige Pitel, attacked. The three quickly built a lead of almost a minute. The relatively inexperienced American, Abbott, worked alongside the Europeans as the lead increased.
With a lap to go, Edwige Pitel was dropped by Abbott and Luperini on the climb. Their lead increased to over 1 minute 30 seconds. The action came thick and fast as a chase group formed. The main contenders for the World Cup series were in the group: current leader, Nicole Cooke (Raleigh), second-placed World Champion, Marianne Vos (DSB Bank), Oenone Wood (T-Mobile), who is third and also Trixi Worrack (Nürnberger), Amber Neben (Team Flexpoint), World Time Trial Champion, Kristin Armstrong (TEAm Lipton). Also there was 2006 winner of this event, Judith Arndt, Chantal Beltman (both T0-Mobile), Longo-Ciprelli (Uniqa) and Andrea Graus (Nürnberger).
With ten kilometres to go, Beltman and Longo-Ciprelli attacked and gained about 30 seconds on the rest of the chase group. They were unable to bridge across to the two leaders, however and were caught on the final climb of Mont-Royal. Judith Arndt attacked in the closing kilometres on her own. She was ahead of the chasers, but also unable to reach the leaders. Her brave attempt was thwarted by a crash on the final hairpin bend, 200m from the finish.
Luperini and Abbott were alone to sprint for victory and it seemed clear that Luperini would take it as the pair took to the side of the road, along the barriers, as they accelerated from 100m away. With 50 metres to go, Luperini was ahead and the Italian Road Race Champion was able to take the time for two-handed victory celebration as she crossed the line. Abbott was delighted with second, judged to be 2 seconds back on the Italian. Judith Arndt, despite the crash took third place, at 57 seconds. The bunch sprinted in 15 seconds after Arndt (1 minute 11 down on the winner). Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) took fourth ahead of Nicole Cooke (Raleigh) and Oenone Wood (T-Mobile).
The relative placings of Vos, Cooke and Wood mean that the World Cup series standings do not change. Cooke's lead over Vos is reduced to 53 points (from 56), whilst Wood slips three points to 169 behind Cooke despite maintaining third place.
The next round of the World Cup is in Sweden on 5th August: the Open de Suede Vargarda.
Fabiana Luperini (Menikini Gysko), was thrilled with her win. The reserved Italian commented that : "I am really happy about the win today. A World Cup win is really important for me personally, but mostly for Menikini Gysko".
Mara Abbott (Webcor) was also delighted "I didn't really know who I was with, perhaps I worked too hard, but she beat me in that sprint. Second place in a World Cup…… "
Series Leader, Nicole Cooke (Raleigh) was pleased to protect her lead over Marianne Vos, "I enjoyed today. It's always a good course and a nice atmosphere here in Montreal. I am happy with fifth place, it was a good job today and I'm really looking forward to the second half of the season. I've got a nice lead in the World Cup and I'm ready to keep on going."
Results - Top 10
Standings - Top 5
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