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By VeloNews Interactive
Following the 10th stage at the 15th running of La Grand Boucle Féminine, defending champion Joane Somarriba has retaken the lead in the world’s biggest stage race for women. Entering the 10th of 14 stages, the Spanish Alfa Lum rider had found herself in second place, six seconds behind Lithuanian Rasa Polikieviciute (Acca Due O). But Somarriba won the stage 10 individual time trial to move back in front, 2:41 ahead of France’s Jeannie Longo. Previous race leader Polikieviciute fell to seventh, 4:34 behind Somarriba.
Somarriba started the 15-day race by taking the opening time trial in her home country. The 9.9km race against the clock took place in Bilbao, Spain, on August 5. Somarriba’s winning time of 13:33 was three seconds faster than second-place finisher Judith Arndt of the German national team.
A day later, Somarriba was at it again, capturing stage 2, a short 34.4km run from Barèges to Campan, by 1:24 to extend her overall lead to 2:14 over Italy’s Fabiana Luperini (Edilsavino). But Somarriba nearly lost the yellow jersey two days later when a breakaway got nearly four minutes up the road at one point. Somarriba’s Alfa Lum teammates were able to limit the damage, but she still gave back a large chunk of time.
Stage 6 saw further bleeding for Somarriba, who watched her advantage cut to 31 seconds after reigning world champion Zinaidi Stahurskaia took the 84.7km ride from La Roche sur Yon to Bressuire. Somarriba finally turned over the yellow jersey on stage 7 when Polikieviciute hooked up with a successful breakaway that finished 1:10 ahead of the peloton. That gave Polikieviciute a two-second advantage, which she expanded to five seconds a day later by winning a sprint bonus.
The Grand Boucle finishes August 19, with a 117.8km ride from Pierrelaye to Paris.
GRAND BOUCLE FEMININE, France. August 5-19.; Stage 10: St. Galmier to Rive de Gier; 1. Joane Somarriba (Sp), Alfa Lum RSM, 45.3km in 1:08:39 (39.6 kph); 2. Jeannie Longo (F), Swam-Slovakia, at 0:04; 3. Judith Arndt (G), Junkers-Noja, at 0:44; 4. Alessandra Cappellotto (I), Gas Sport, at 0:50; 5. Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Sp), Junkers-Noja, at 1:00; 6. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, at 1:23; 7. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr), Gas Sport Team, at 2:26; 8. Jolanta Polikeviciute (Lit), Acca Due-O H.P Lorena, at 3:10; 9. Mari Holden (USA), Alfa Lum RSM, at 4:22; 10. Elena Tchalykh (Rus), Carpe Diem Itera, at 4:38; 11. Rasa Polikeviciute (Lit), Acca Due-O H.P Lorena, at 4:40; General classification after 10 of 14 stages; 1. Joane Somarriba (Sp), Alfa Lum RSM, at 27:52:18; 2. Jeannie Longo (F), Swam-Slovakia, at 2:41; 3. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr), Gas Sport Team, at 2:57; 4. Alessandra Cappellotto (I), Gas Sport, at 3:12; 5. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, at 3:37; 6. Judith Arndt (G), Junkers-Noja, at 4:24; 7. Rasa Polikeviciute (Lit), Acca Due-O H.P Lorena, at 4:34; 8. Teodora Ruano Sanchon (Sp), Junkers-Noja, at 5:16; 9. Jolanta Polikeviciute (Lit), Acca Due-O H.P Lorena, at 8:12; 10. Marianna Lorenzoni (I), Aliverti Mixed, at 8:42;North Americans;11. Mari Holden (USA), Alfa Lum R.S.M., at 9:09; 20. Lara Ruthven (USA), Carpe Diem Itera, at 15:04; 24. Cybil Diguistini (Can), CA Mantes-La-Ville; at 20:14; 48. Joan Wilson (USA), Farm Frites/USA, at 36:49; 50. Rhonda Quick (USA), Farm Frites/USA, at 40:32; 65. Pamela Schuster (USA), Farm Frites/USA, at 1:25:22