By Dede Barry, T-Mobile CyclingTeam
Before traveling on Friday, I looked up the forecast for Montreal on weather.com. It said rain for the next seven days.
I was pleasantly surprised by the sunshine that greeted me as I stepped off the plane and even more excited to wake up to sunshine for the race on Saturday.
Each time I have competed in the MontrealWorld Cup, the crowd has grown. The Canadian fans are passionate and were lining the course today, cheering everyone – first to last- and yelling out the names of the home favorites – Genevieve Jeanson, Lyne Bessette and Manon Jutras. The energy on the course was excellent.
I was coming off a week of sniffling and coughing with a cold, so I did not have a huge amount of confidence at the start that I would be strong, but I knew my teammates would be, as everyone came off of nationals feeling fit and strong.
We expected a little rivalry between the stars from Quebec and hoped to be able to capitalize on it. Rona would be riding in full support of Genevieve and Saturn would be helping Lyne and Manon. There were many other strong riders on the roster from Europe as well, including the current World Cup leader, Nicole Cooke.
The first half of the race was mellow and controlled. Rona set tempo on the hill each lap, but generally, the pace was not high. I flatted on lap two, had nearly the slowest wheel change ever and still made it back to the bunch with the help of my super teammates, Kim Anderson and Stacey Peters, as the bunch was not moving too quickly on the flat sections.
In the second half of the race, the pace quickened and the attacks began. I was having a hard time breathing on the climb and was dangling on the back for a few laps and with three to go, I was gaped off, but up front, my teammates were lighting up the race and I was hearing all about it in the radio.
Amber attacked first and opened up a 32-second gap, she got chased down and then Kimberly countered. Kimberly was off the front solo until the base of the final climb, where Genevieve attacked, bridged to Kimberly and then passed her like a motorbike.
Genevieve a.k.a. “the machine from Lachine” (Lachine being the Montreal suburb where she’s from) won and the Quebecois fans were pleased.
We will have a day of rest on Sunday before starting the Tour de Montreal on Monday, a three-day, four-stage race.
Dede Barry rides for the T-Mobile team. You can visit her web siteat www.dedebarry.com