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WCN quicklink >>   Round 6 - Montreal

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On this page >>  Write-up      Comments     Results      Standings     Photos     Extra images by Ben Atkins

 

Round 2

Tour of Flanders, 131km

 

Race Writeup

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg took a bunch sprint win to make it 2 years out of 2 for Team Columbia. Injured Judith Arndt was unable to defend her title, but in the end, the fast conditions played to the strengths of her sprinter team-mate. 

Relatively good conditions meant that the race was fast, an early break was allowed to stay away for the first half of the race. It wasn't until the Muur in Geraadsbergen and the Bos Berg, a few kilometres later, that the 'big-hitters' showed their cards. Breakaway attempts were made and failed, or were brought back; so it was down to a 15 rider bunch sprint along the wide, slightly uphill finishing straight in Meerbeek.

In contrast to the rain-soaked first round of the 2009 series, last week in Italy, this second round took place in completely dry conditions. An early fog chilled the air and took a long time to burn off. When it did, the afternoon was comfortably warm, but not too hot.

The race began early, if not in earnest, with a solo breakaway by Alona Andruk (SAFI Pasta Zara Titanedi). The Ukrainian escaped from the bunch in the lanes around the first climb, Molenberg (24 kilometres). She built up a lead of around a minute and was followed out of the bunch by Red Sun Cycling team’s Latoya Brulee. The pair were away for almost half the race distance, although they never rode together. Brulee rode in-between Andruk and the bunch, unable to bridge all the way across the gap to the race leader. The bunch were happy to allow these riders to stay away, no doubt the plans of the favoured teams and riders were focussed on the climbs at the latter part of the race.

The Muur at Geraardsbergen is steep and gets painfully steep towards the chapel at the summit. There is a small descent and then the parcours takes in the climb of Bosberg, a formidable and leafy ascent through a parkland. Noemi Cantele (Bigla Cycling Team) was first up the main section of the Muur, followed closely by Nicole Cooke (Vision 1 Racing), then Emma Johansson (Red Sun Cycling team), Cervelo Test Team’s duo; Kristin Armstrong and Sarah Duester, Grace Verbeek (Lotto Belisol), Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Team Columbia Women) and in-form Eva Lutz (Equipe Nurnberger).

Cantele was unable to stay away, but her effort defined the race. A series of attacks followed. Perhaps the most exciting was the acceleration by Marianne Vos (DSB Bank), wearing the World Cup series leader jersey. She powered up Bosberg and had a small advantage by the summit. It was the Cervelo Test Team who chased back the Dutchwoman and caught her, creating a bunch of around eighteen riders who would those to contend the final sprint.

This group rode strongly to the finish and turned the corner into the long, wide and slightly uphill finishing straight together. With the finish in sight, the sprinters unleashed their speed. Although outnumbered and without team-mates to rely on for a lead-out, Teutenberg was clear at the front, battling with Kirsten Wild (Cervelo Test Team), her yellow and white jersey edged ahead of her rival’s black and red outfit. Along the barriers, Emma Johansson was holding her place, whilst Nicole Cooke (Vision 1 Racing) moved across from the barriers to the faster wheels in the middle of the road. Her move was too late, the speed and power of Teutenberg and Wild kept them in arrears and it wasn’t until Teutenberg almost crossed the line that she began her victory salute. Emma Johansson (Red Sun) hung on for third, whilst Nicole Cooke (Vision 1 Racing) wended her way through the bunch to finish a creditable fourth, given where she came from. Martine Braas (Selle Italia Ghezzo) was fifth, continuing the form she has shown recently. 

Teutenberg’s win came on the back of a successful campaign of wins in California; with nine wins already to her name in 2009, she won the four day Redlands Classic (overall) last Sunday and flew in during the week to race ‘Flanders’ in the considerately cooler Northern European climate. Despite her form, she was also motivated by her sprinter counterpart on the men’s Columbia-High Road squad, Mark Cavendish, who won Milan-San Remo ten days ago.

Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) maintained her hold on the World Cup leader's jersey. She will take it to the Ronde van Drenthe next weekend, where she will defend it. The Dutchwoman will wear the jersey in the Ronde van Drenthe on Easter Monday. The omens for Vos to continue in the lead are good; the past two winners have been Dutch (Adrie Visser and Chantal Beltman) and also in 2008, the World Cup leader after the Drenthe round was Dutch (Suzanne De Goede).

 

Results - Top 15 - click here to see full result

Position Name Team Time / Gap
1 Ina-Yoko TEUTENBERG TCW 3:30:12
2 Kirsten WILD RTL 3:30:12
3 Emma JOHANSSON RSC 3:30:12
4 Nicole COOKE VOR 3:30:12
5 Martine BRAS MSI 3:30:12
6 Marianne VOS DSB 3:30:12
7 Yulia MARTISSOVA GAU 3:30:12
8 Noemi CANTELE BCT 3:30:12
9 Loes GUNNEWIJK FLX 3:30:12
10 Grace VERBEKE LBL 3:30:12
11 Trixi WORRACK NUR 3:30:12
12 Susanne LJUNGSKOG FLX 3:30:12
13 Christiane SOEDER RTL 3:30:12
14 Eva LUTZ NUR 3:30:12
15 Tania BELVEDERESI GAU 3:30:12

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Post Race Comments

Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Team Columbia Highroad ) was overjoyed to have won Flanders,  “I never thought I could win this because it’s a pretty hard race, but I got over the (key climb of) the Geraardsbergen in a group with [rival] Kristin Armstrong, and I thought maybe it was going to come back together,” Teutenberg said afterwards. “It was a perfect scenario for me and so I tried to take advantage and enjoy it.” Teutenberg added, “When (Columbia-Highroad team-mate) Mark Cavendish won Milan-San Remo, I joked with him about taking up the challenge and winning a Monument as well. Now I’ve done it, so now we’re even.” 

“We’ve got three really big races in Holland next week that really suit me. We’ve won a big World Cup race, so the pressure is off a bit. Now we can really play our cards without being under too much pressure.” Recapping the race, Teutenberg noted, “There weren’t really many attacks early on, and I think the good weather played a role in that, so positioning wasn’t a big factor. The attacks really started on the Geraardsbergen. There were four off the front and then four of us got across. I was there on my own and it was a big group so I had to be smart and I played off the other teams. I couldn’t attack and knew I had to wait for the sprint. It worked out perfectly and I won it. It was a fast sprint and there is only one corner in the last kilometre, so it wasn’t a problem for me to really go for it.”

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Standings After Round 2 Top 10 - click here to see full details

Position Name   Team Points
1 Marianne Vos Netherlands National Team 99
2 Emma Johansson Red Sun Cycling Team 85
3 Ina-Yoko TEUTENBERG Team Columbia Highroad Women 75
4 Kirsten WILD Cervélo Test Team 50
5 Martine Bras Selle Italia Ghezzi 45
6 Kristin Armstrong Cervélo Test Team 38
7 Eva Lutz Equipe Nurnberger Versicherung 37
8 Nicole COOKE Vision 1 Racing 30
9 Julia Martisova Gauss Rdz Ormu 29
10 Wild Kirstin Cervélo Test Team 27

 

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Photos   Click on any image to enlarge >>

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Extra Gallery, courtesy Ben Atkins

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