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Plouay, Round 10

GP de Plouay, France, 114.6km


Race Writeup

Arndt takes World Cup series with one round remaining, chased hard by De Goede. Luperini wins sprint for victory

For the fourth (individual) World Cup race in a row, the first and second positions on the podium were taken by a rider from Menikini Selle Italia and Team Columbia (Team High Road, before their name change). These two teams have grasped for glory and dominated in the World Cup since early May in the Tour de Berne.

In Plouay on Sunday, it was the turn of Fabiana Luperini (Menikini Selle Italia) to take victory. She beat Team Columbia’s Luise Keller in a two-up sprint for the line after a long breakaway by the pair.

Team Columbia came to the World Cup knowing that with a strong performance, Judith Arndt could seal the World Cup series for 2008. That despite the final round remaining in September. Their plan was to race aggressively throughout the 6 lap, 114.6 kilometre race. They raced to the plan, with riders active in breaks and chasing down attacks during the race which lasted over 3 hours.

Although the morning had been miserable, with rain falling, the afternoon cleared up and the race was run off under mainly sunny skies and on dry roads.  A relatively small number of riders, 89, from eleven professional and four national teams started the 2008 GP de Plouay.

An early break was chased back by Anke Wichmann (Team Columbia) and this provided the springboard for a counter-attack by Wichmann’s team-mate, Kim Anderson. The American managed to gain a gap edging over one minute during her 26 kilometre break, but she eventually succumbed when a chase by Edwige Pitel (Pro Team Les Carroz) towed the bunch back up.  Not long afterwards, Miho Oki (Menikini Selle Italia) went clear with Anke Wichmann (Team Columbia). When they were reeled in less than 15 kilometres later, a split in the main bunch was created, from which Fabiana Luperini (Menikini Selle Italia) and Luise Keller (Team Columbia) launched their decisive attack. As the pair extended their advantage, Swiss teams, Team Bigla and Cervelo Lifeforce worked hard to contain the gap.

Luperini and Keller were away for three and a half laps, around 65km. There were some attempts to bridge across to them, in final 25 kilometres, but these were chased back by Keller’s Team Columbia team-mates. World Cup leader, Judith Arndt and Kim Anderson were active in policing these accelerations. As the final twenty kilometres were raced, the time gap closed steadily. They approached the finish line just over half a minute ahead of the bunch.

The final 250 metres of the ‘Jean-Yves Perron’ circuit rises steadily and it was Fabiana Luperini who had the front as the pair approached the final two hundred metres. Keller gave her best, but just did not seem to have the legs to challenge the Italian. They sprinted until the line, but with 25m remaining, it was clear that Luperini would win.

The Italian road race Champion was not sure until she crossed the line that she would win “I haven’t raced for a month, my last race was Sweden [World Cup, round 8 – Open de Suede], so I didn’t know if I could win today. But in the final lap, I did feel strong and I tried to win. I am very happy.” Luperini said after the race.

Luise Keller was understandably disappointed not to have won. She came to Plouay refreshed a week after her overall victory in the Route de France, her first ever stage race win. “Of course I wanted to win”, she reflected, [the win in Route de France] “It gave me confidence today. I tried to win, but it was not enough. 

The bunch sprint 31 seconds later was contested by several riders. The focus, though, was the duel between Judith Arndt and Suzanne De Goede (Équipe Nürnberger). Laying second, 87 points down before the start, De Goede needed to beat Arndt by a placing which would provide her with 13 more points to keep the 2008 World Cup competition open. It was a long, hard sprint and De Goede won, but her 35 points for third compared to Arndt’s for fourth were not enough.

Judith Arndt goes into the final round of the World Cup with 82 point s more than De Goede, her nearest rival. With a maximum of 75 points for the win, she has sealed victory one round early. The German, who before Berne had not worn the World Cup leader’s jersey, has worn it since and will be entered into the record books as the 2008 World Cup winner. There will be a double celebration for Team Columbia in Nürnberg, the team has already notched up an unassailable total in the Team Competition too.

Far from resting on their laurels, Team Columbia will be racing hard in the final round. “We will take the jersey to Nürnberg, it will be nice not to have to race for it, but we are always looking for the win”, commented Judith Arndt after the podium ceremony.

The final World Cup race in the 2008 series is the “Rund um die Nürnberger Aldstadt” , in Germany on Sunday 14 September 2008

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Results - Top 10 - click here to see full result

Position Name Team Time


1 LUPERINI Fabiana MSI  3:16:49.
2 KELLER Luise TMP              same
3 DE GOEDE Suzanne NUR 31
4 ARNDT Judith TMP 31
5 BRAS Martine VVP 31
9 VERBEKE Grace BEL 31


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Standings Top 10 - click here to see full standings

Rank Previous Name Team Points
1 1 ARNDT Judith TMP 290
2 2 DE GOEDE Suzanne NUR 208
3 3 VOS Marianne DSB 152
4 24 LUPERINI Fabiana MSI 125
5 4 POOLEY Emma TSW 117
6 5 BELTMAN Chantal TMP 114
9 8 ARMSTRONG Kristin RLT 88

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>

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WC1_1323 WC1_1346 WC2_0724 WC2_0727 WC2_0731
WC2_0748 WC2_0757 WC2_0759 WC2_0764 WC2_0767
WC2_0776 WC2_0802 WC2_0815 WC2_0821 WC2_0832


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