By Robert Jones, VeloNews Correspondent
Annabella Stropparo has won the third round of the cross-country WorldCup at Mont Ste Anne ahead of Barbara Blatter and Alison Dunlap. Dunlap’s third is enough to propel her into the overall leader’s jersey.
Stropparo was overcome with emotion as she granted interviews. She wascrying and laughing and just plain full of joy. “I’ve waited such a longtime for this. I kept worrying that something would go wrong in the lastlap. That made it very hard. When I got through the last major climb itwas very enjoyable. I was so happy on the last half of the final lap. Itried to be very smooth and not make any mistakes. I pushed hard on theclimbs but I ran down the last descent because I didn’t want to take anychances.”
Stropparo built an early lead on the first of the major climbs. Herchallengers in the early going were Blatter and Caroline Alexander, butshe put the power on hard and opened up a 20 second gap by the end of thefirst lap. It shrunk a bit by the end of the 2nd lap, however she pushedit back up to around 30 seconds for the remainder of the race.
Blatter rode a steady strong race for 2nd place. “I planned my racefor a strong last lap. I thought she (Stropparo) was going to die. Whenshe was in front she goes fast and then dies, but this time she didn’t.I had a good race but Stropparo was very strong.”
After sitting in 4th for most of the race, World Champion Alison Dunlap(Luna Chix) poured it on in the last lap to claim 3rd at the expense ofJimena Florit. “I spent a long time on my own out there, but I generallylike riding that way. I could always see Jimena just ahead of me so I plannedto save something for the last lap. I really gave it and was able to passher. I usually have a strong last lap anyways and I wanted the points forthat jersey.”
‘That jersey’ is the World Cup leader’s jersey, and Dunlap has takena 100 point lead over former top rider Marga Fullana, who did not travelto North America. Dunlap had been tied for second with Caroline Alexander,but the British rider dropped out after one lap.
1. Annabella Stroparo (Ita) Be-One 2:01:39
2. Barbara Blatter (Sui) Specialized at 0:32
3. Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna 2:50
4. Jimena Florit (Arg) 2:51
5. Sabine Spitz (Ger) Merida 3:57
6. Regina Marunde (Ger) 4:12
7. Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Oryx 4:55
8. Mary McConneloug (USA) 8:02
9. Kiara Bisaro (Can) Gears Racing 8:31
10. Alison Sydor (Can) Trek-Volkswagen 8:40