By Rob Jones , VeloNews correspondent
Dede Demet-Barry has come up with a new training strategy for winning races:
1. Retire for 20 months and go to school full-time.
2. Race a total of two races in the lead-up to the big event.
3. Get a new bike, with the wheels arriving on the morning of the race.
4. Get dropped at the start of the final lap.
Demet-Barry did all of these things, but still managed to win what some consider the hardest race on the women’s World Cup circuit.
The Montreal race is the sixth round of the season-long World Cupseries. The riders cover 99 kilometers in 12 laps, and must climb the slopes of Mont Royal every lap.
Genevieve Jeanson (Rona) and Lyne Bessette (Equipe Quebec) were favored in the field, as was Dutch rider Mirjam Melchers, second in the overall standings to Petra Rossner (Saturn). And, of course, there was the Italian climbing ace Fabiana Luperini (Edilsavino).
Jeanson’s team set a hard pace in the early laps of the race, thinning the field until there were approximately 20 riders remaining from the 105 starters. Strong headwinds discouraged Jeanson from making one of her patented lone breakaway efforts, and with two laps to go there were still nearly 20 riders at the front, including Demet-Barry, Jeanson, Bessette, Luperini, mountain biker Caroline Alexander (Great Britain) and four Saturn riders — Judith Arndt, Anna Millward, Rossner and Kim Bruckner.
As the riders tackled the penultimate climb up Mont Royal, Luperini jumped, catalyzing the race. Over the top, it was Jeanson leading Luperini, Bessette, Melchers, Arndt and two or three others, but not Demet-Barry or Anna Millward. They both came over and began the descent 15 seconds down on the leaders.
“Anna and I were in sight of the leaders, so we just flew down the descent, and made contact near the bottom.” explained Demet-Barry. “We both actually then attacked at the same moment on opposite sides (of the group).”
“I went left and Dede went right,” Millward said. “We met out in front and there was no question that we were going to work together — this was our one chance. On the climb Dede was too strong, she went hard from the bottom, but I am really pleased to finish second — it is my best result ever in Montreal.”
Jeanson salvaged local pride with a third place, 2 seconds in front of Melchers and Arndt. Melchers’ fourth place, combined with Rossner’s 12th was enough to put the Dutch rider into the World Cup leader’s jersey.