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Monday brought the Hydro-Quebec Gatineau GP, an elite women's road race in which the riders completed thirteen (and a very small bit) laps of a hilly 10.18km parcours for a total of 134km in temperatures that reached 29C and some difficult cross winds. Tara Whitten got away early on and wasted no time at all in building up a lead of more than a minute, then 1'40" as she finished her third lap. Her efforts began to break up the peloton in Lap 5 as some riders elected to leave the hard work later and others chased, causing the pack to spread out. In time, Whitten's lead began to shorten, down to 1'09" at the end of the 6th lap.
Lululemon were straight in with the next break, too, getting Evelyn Stevens off the front accompanied by Carmen Small (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Rhae Christie-Shaw (Canada), and with 50km to go things were getting serious. Realising that, if it came down to it, Stevens was going to have a tough job fending off Small in a sprint, they sent Amber Neben up to assist. Jennifer Hohl (Faren Honda) and Claudia Haussler (Orica-GreenEDGE) tagged along for the ride, but the break proved less of a threat than expected and rapidly merged back into the straggly peloton. Then Stevens and Haussler had another go, taking Luperini with them this time, though this time around Haussler couldn't keep up the pace and soon left the other two to go on alone; though it wasn't long before they too proved tired and Hughes passed them. Hoskins joined her, followed by Leah Kirchmann (Optum) and Julie Beveridge a short way up the road; a situation that threw the pack into a bit of a panic as the race moved into the last 34km. Was Hughes going to win again? There was no way that break was going to be allowed to live!
|Good luck catching Teut in a sprint!|
And the other Lululemon riders? Hughes took 8th, Stevens 10th and Neben 11th. Not a bad three days at all.
1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg Specialized-Lululemon 3h25'03"
2. Rochelle Gilmore Faren-Honda ST
3. Alona Andruk Diadora-Pasta Zara ST
4. Joëlle Numainville ST
5. Carmen Small +2"
6. Kate Chilcott ST
7. Nicole Cooke Faren-Honda +6"
8. Clara Hughes Specialized-Lululemon ST
9. Jasmin Hurikino ST
10. Evelyn Stevens Specialized-Lululemon +14"
(Full results here)