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Tour of the Gila Stage 5: Womens Gila Monster
 
By Vaughn Trevi
Date: 5/4/2003
Tour of the Gila Stage 5: Womens Gila Monster
 

Geneviève Jeanson of the RONA/Esker Cycling Team convincingly won her third consecutive Tour of the Gila by winning the infamous “Gila Monster Road Race." Her teammate Karen Bockel took second spot in the stage. In a display of power and speed Geneviève finished with another the victory in the most challenging of the spring stage races in her winner's purse to add to her growing list of palmares.

The Tour of the Gila wrapped up today with the infamous "Gila Monster" race. 69 miles for the pro women, today's stage is considered to be the most challenging of the Tour. With over 5,000 feet of climbing, the race course crisscrossed the Continental Divide, taking the riders reverse of the course they raced Friday. With race leader Geneviève Jeanson leading by over nine minutes, the peloton was uninterested in pursuing anything beyond survival and protection of their placement in the overall.

The morning broke brisk and deceivingly calm. The women rolled out of town on the main road through the still slumbering outskirts of the city. Once they took a left hand turn, the rolling hill took on a nasty edge with several long, steep climbs. Saturn's Jutras was the first to throw down an attack, and Jeanson was quick to respond. However, once they reached the strong winds, about four miles later, it was Jeanson by herself. Once again time trialing into the wind, the Canadian steadily put time into a chase group behind. T-Mobile and Saturn worked together in attempt to gather back some time, but it was not to be, and Jeanson soloed in for her fourth win of the Tour. In a repeat of Redlands, only Saturn's Ina Teutenberg and Jeanson won stages at the five day Tour.

Jeanson wins the general classification with a stunning 18’33” lead over runner-up Manon Jutras of Team Saturn, a new record for this race. (Last year Jeanson beat Saturn’s Kim Bruckner by 11’42”). Katrina Grove (T-Mobile) finished third overall. Stunning the peloton, Geneviève won four of the five stages, taking more time on each from her competitors. This may explain the increase of time in her lead this year as the women's peloton digs deep to see what it will take to tame Geneviève.

Jeanson is still undefeated in stage races this year, having won the Valley of the Sun, the Pomona Valley Stage Race, the Redlands Classic and the Sea Otter Classic. In the end Geneviève has proven she can dominate in the mountains and sprint when needed. In some ways Geneviève reminds me of Fausto Coppi, who was famous for mountain escapes gathering enough time in hand at the finish to shower and return to see his competitors sprint for second place. Her bold attacks, when not needed to win the General Classification, are the distinction of a rider who will raise the quality of her competitors to compete at her level and certainly raise interest in women's pro racing.

Today’s 111-km stage challenged the riders with three major climbs and a mountaintop finish. As soon as the peloton turned to see the first climb, Saturn’s Manon Jutras bravely attacked, but was immediately countered by Jeanson, Bockel and a handful of others. In less than three kilometres Jeanson dropped everybody else and went on another 100-km mountain time trial, just as she had done last Friday.

Behind Jeanson, a 30-strong chase group organized, including T-Mobiles, Saturns, and four RONAS/Eskers: Karen Bockel, Melissa Holt, Andrea Hannos and Erinne Willock. These four accelerated the tempo about 35 km from the finish and Karen Bockel took second place, 6’44” behind her leader. Lynn Gaggioli (Velo Bella) completed the stage podium, followed by Katrina Grove (T Mobile) and Manon Jutras (Saturn).

“I felt really good today," commented Jeanson after the final stage. “I’m surprised at how little tired I feel after five days of really hard racing. But I’m still going to take a break from racing until the Montreal races four weeks from now, because I want to be in top shape when I get there. Montreal is special, the field is always very strong, it’s very intense emotionally and the whole team looks forward to the World Cup race and the Tour of Greater Montreal.”

As Jeanson met with reporters the main field came across the finish with Jeanson's teammate Karen Bockel taking a strong second place finish over T-Mobile's Katrina Grove in third and Lyne Gaggioli in fourth. The overall remained unchanged save for the additional time Jeanson racked up. Saturn's Jutras finished second in the overall ahead of Grove.

From here the Saturn women have a brief rest before heading overseas to France where they will compete at the Tour de L'Aude. The remainder of the team will be racing at the Joe Martin Stage next weekend in Arkansas.

Thanks to Giana Roberge of Saturn and Daniel LaRouche of RONA for the women's race info.

Womens Stage 5 Results
1 3:29:04 Jeanson, Geneviève Rona Esker Canada
2 @ 06:44 Bockel, Karen Rona Esker Germany
3 @ 06:47 Grove, Katrina T-Mobile Fort Collins, CO
4 @ 06:49 Gaggioli, Lynn Velo Bella Santa Rosa, CA
5 @ 06:59 Jutras, Manon Saturn Cycling Tea Canada
6 @ 07:12 Quick, Rhonda Vaniqa/Red S. Raci San Diego, CA
7 @ 07:12 Bisaro, Kiara Canadian Cycling Canada
8 @ 07:12 Fedyna, Marg Vaniqa/Red S. Raci Canada
9 @ 07:12 Grigson, Mary Subaru-Gary Fisher Australia
10 @ 07:12 Moore, Amy Saturn Cycling Tea Canada
11 @ 07:12 Marks, Dara Mountain Velo / Su Flagstaff, AZ
12 @ 07:12 Goldstein, Leah Victory Brewing-Am Israel
13 @ 07:12 Ruiter, Chrissy Fort Lewis Durango, CO
14 @ 07:12 Wilson, Jennifer Mtn. Velo/Supergo El Paso, TX
15 @ 07:12 Haywood, Susan T - Mobile Davis, WI
16 @ 07:12 McQuaid, Melanie Ford / Outfitters Canada
17 @ 07:24 Emmett, Kelli Hillenbrand Racing Colorado
18 @ 07:35 Johnson, Kristin T-Mobile Durango, CO
19 @ 08:00 Koinrad, Sarah Basis Laramie, WY
20 @ 08:00 Ourada, Brooke Team Goldys Boise, ID

Womens General Classification
1 12:29:55 Jeanson, Geneviève Rona Esker Canada
2 @ 18:33 Jutras, Manon Saturn Cycling Tea Canada
3 @ 20:47 Grove, Katrina T-Mobile Fort Collins, CO
4 @ 22:07 Goldstein, Leah Victory Brewing-Am Israel
5 @ 22:10 Gaggioli, Lynn Velo Bella Santa Rosa, CA
6 @ 24:42 Bockel, Karen Rona Esker Germany
7 @ 24:52 Haywood, Susan T-Mobile Davis, WI
8 @ 25:39 Quick, Rhonda Vaniqa/Red S. Raci San Diego, CA
9 @ 27:17 Wilson, Jennifer Mtn. Velo/Supergo El Paso, TX
10 @ 27:21 Bisaro, Kiara Canadian Cycling Canada
11 @ 27:44 Moore, Amy Saturn Cycling Tea Canada
12 @ 27:44 Emmett, Kelli Hillenbrand Racing Colorado
13 @ 28:37 Marks, Dara Mountain Velo / Su Flagstaff, AZ
14 @ 28:44 Reeves, Gretchen Rocky Mountain Boulder, CO
15 @ 28:48 Ourada, Brooke Team Goldys Boise, ID
16 @ 29:02 Johnson, Kristin T-Mobile Durango, CO
17 @ 29:35 Grigson, Mary Subaru-Gary Fisher Australia
18 @ 31:35 Redden, Chrissy Canadian Cycling Canada
19 @ 32:45 Hannos, Andrea Rona Esker Canada
20 @ 33:40 Fedyna, Marg Vaniqa/Red S. Raci Canada
21 @ 33:48 Begosh, Elizabeth Team Snow Valley Millville, PA
22 @ 35:05 Willock, Erinne Rona Esker Canada
23 @ 36:12 Kopasz, Christy ICO Rico, CO
24 @ 38:00 Holt, Melissa Rona Esker New Zealand
25 @ 39:04 Koinrad, Sarah Basis Laramie, WY

A word about the race sponsors. Sponsors make races like the Tour of the Gila possible. Gila Bike and Hike, owned by Mike Sauer and Jack Brennan, and established in 1987, is a full service bike shop. The shop rents bikes to travelers to the Gila area for bike tours and single track adventures in the local mountains. Jack and Mike were active in the founding and organisation of the Tour of Gila for the last 17 years. Thanks for starting and keeping a great race going.

Speaking of traveling to Silver City and the Gila Wilderness, another sponsor, Gila Wilderness.com, is a hub of the travel and vacation choices in Silver City and the Gila Wilderness area. Whether your plans for a vacation are a visit to the cliff dwellings, hiking, fishing, hunting, mtn.biking or a bike tour to ride the same roads the pros ride, the place to go is the Gila Wilderness.com site.

 
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