|- Race report courtesy of Giana Roberge of the Saturn Cycling Team, Daniel Larouche of RONA/Esker, and Kelly Walker of USA Cycling.|
June 3, 2003 (Montreal, Quebec) - The Yellow Jersey slipped off of Genevieve Jeanson's shoulders today and onto Amber Neben's of T-Mobile in day two of the Tour du Grand Montreal. The 111 kilometer road course was very challenging and saw Saturn's aggressive moves pay good dividends for Lyne Bessette, who now sits in second in the GC, only two seconds behind Neben.
The race played out at kilometer 75 after a series of Saturn and T-Mobile attacks softened the field. T-Mobile launched Kristin Armstrong who strongly rode herself into a 50 second lead over the field and then race leader Jeanson. Recognizing an opportunity to stir things up, Saturn's Bessette bridged to Armstrong and was marked by Armstrong's teammate Neben and eventual race winner Magalie LeFloch of RONA/Esker. LeFloch, being Jeanson's teammate, merely marked the break, and sat on the back of Bessette and Neben as they worked their way up to Armstrong.
Once contact was made, it was Bessette and Armstrong doing the bulk of the work, driving the break clear of a furiously chasing Jeanson. Bessette was driven in her intent to put time between her group and Jeanson's chase group, and heavily invested herself in driving the break to the final 34 second gap over the chase.
Neben allowed Armstrong to do all the work until the final climb, when it was clear the elastic to Jeanson had broken and the finish line was in site. From there, Neben lead out the sprint, but a well rested LeFloch came by her on the finishing steep section for a win, despite the loss of the jersey for her team. Neben finished second to a tired Bessette. Neben's second place was good enough to move her into Yellow by two seconds over Bessette.
"I feel as a team, this was one of our best races, everyone was on the same page," commented Neben. "It was certainly encouraging to be with Jeanson and
Bessette on the final climb. In the end, I was really thinking more about the stage win than the yellow jersey, but we will certainly go into today's race with the goal of defending the jersey."
"Geneviève attacked and I went in front of her to help, then Bessette vigorously counterattacked," Le Floc’h said after the stage. "I took Bessette’s wheel and a gap opened behind. When André (Aubut, RONA/Esker’s manager) gave me the green to stay in front, I figured I had no choice. The girls had worked so hard all day, I owed it to them to win!"
Bessette was very proud of her and her Saturn Team's efforts for the day, stating, "I felt good all the way except for that final sprint when I just couldn't go any harder. I was gapped on the line and lost a couple of seconds, so Neben has the jersey by two seconds. That is fine though, because two seconds is not a lot and we still have tomorrow to earn the lead. Today worked perfectly for us, the team worked so hard and it was a good day."
Disappointed by the loss of her yellow jersey, Jeanson was happy with her teammate’s win. She offered no excuses. "As for me, I was not in super shape and I missed the good break, too bad!," she said. She now stands in fifth place, 32 seconds behind the new leader. Tomorrow she will wear the Queen of the Mountain’s green jersey.
Wednesday is the fourth and last stage, a flat, 80-km road circuit in Terrebonne.
Results - More to come
1 Magali Le Floch (Fra) RONA/Esker 2.54.31
2 Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile
3 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team +.03
4 Susan Palmer-Komar (Can) Genesis Scuba/FFCC
5 Regina Schleicher (Ger) German National Team
GC after stage 2 - More to come
1 Amber Neben (USA) T-Mobile 4.09.40
2 Lyne Bessette (Can) Saturn Cycling Team +.02
3 Magali Le Floch (Fra) Rona - Esker +.13
4 Diana Ziliute (Ltu) Acca Due O Pasta +.30
5 Geneviève Jeanson (Can) Rona - Esker +.32
You can visit the official Tour du Grand Montreal here.