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By VeloNews Interactive Wire Services, Copyright AFP 2001
Steady performances by Lyne Bessette over the weekend, and a finish within the main group on May 21 have paid off for the Canadian with a second day in the No. 2 spot on the GC standings. Saturday’s stage winner was sprinter Petra Rossner (Germany), while Sunday’s 126km route was suited more to climbers where Edita Pucinskaite (Lithuania) won the stage and the leader’s jersey. Monday’s winner was Olga Slioussareva (Russia), who rode clear with her teammate to take the Stage 3 victory on May 21. The top six GC spots after Monday’s stage were identical to Sunday’s list.
Saturday’s finish came down to a field sprint, with the peloton regrouping with less than 5km remaining of the 106km stage. Rossner’s squad controlled the group of about 60, and she launched her winning move with 500 meters to go.
The day’s top break was powered by Bessette (the race winner in 1999), and Russia’s Olga Sliuussereva, but was brought back by Anna Wilson-Millward (Friday’s prologue winner) and her teammates.
The peloton faced more mountainous terrain on Sunday, covering 126km between Rieux and Minervois. Pucinskaite’s Spanish teammate Joane Somarriba made the first substantial attack of the day and was quickly followed by Bessett and Pucinskaite. Smarriba was soon left behind, while other two worked together to a minute-plus gap.
Pucinskaite dropped Bessette before the summit, but the Canadian caught back on during the descent. At the finish, the Lithuanian had the best legs moved in to the leader’s jersey with a five-second lead over Bessette. Germany’s Judith Arndt is third overall, two minutes back.
On Monday, May 21, the tired peloton was willing to let the Russian duo of Slioussareva and Svetlana Samokhvalova (both Carpe Diem Itera) move up the road midway through the 128km stage. Those two worked to a 4-minute lead, with 23km to go, and that’s when the main field decided that the gap had grown large enough.
No one was interested in reeling in the Russians (the pair were buried deep on the GC standings), but the field did cut the time down to 3:17 before Slioussareva crossed the line, with Samokhvalova on her wheel. Third place was earned by Germany’s Rossner, taking the field sprint.
Copyright AFP 2001
TOUR de l’AUDE, France. May 18-27.
Stage 1, May 19:; 1. Petra Rossner (G), 102.5 km in 2:46:31; 2. Olga Sloussiareva (Rus) at 0:01; 3. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus); 4. Magali Floc’ H (F), Mantes it City);5. Chantal Beltaman (Nl); 6. Debby Mansveld (Nl); 7. Lyne Bessette (Can); 8. Veronique Belleter (Bel); 9. Svetlana Samokhvalova (Rus); 10. Heidi Van de Vijver (Bel), all s.t.
Stage 2, May 20:; 1. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit) Alfa-Lum, 126 km in 3:29:44; 2. Bessette, at 0:02; 3. Judith Arndt (G), at 1:58; 4. Chantal Beltman (Nl), at 3:16; 5. Susanne Ljungskog (S); 6. Sandra Wampfler (Swi), both s.t.; 7. Susan Palmer Komar (Can) at 4:29; 8. Fany Lecourtois (F); 9. Joane Somarriba Arrola (Sp) s.t.; 10. Olga Zabelinskaia (Rus) 5:12.
Stage 3. May 21:; 1. Olga Slioussareva (Rus), 128km in 3:26:45 (36.102kph); 2. Svetlana Samokhvalova (Rus) s.t.; 3. Rossner, at 3:17. 4. Beltman; 5. Magali Le Floc’h (F); 6. Mirella Van Melis (Nl); 7. Anna Millward (Aus); 8. Iloulia Martissova (Rus); 9. Véronique Belleter (B); 10. Heidi Van De Vijver (B), all s.t.
OVERALL (after Stage 3:; 1. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), 347.6km in 9:50:38 (35.506kph); 2. Bessette, at 0:05; 3. Arndt, at 2:00; 4. Beltman, at 3:28; 5. Ljungskog, at 3:32; 6. Sandra Wampfler (Swi), at 3:42; 7. Slioussareva, at 4:20; 8. Komar, at 4:58; 9. Fany Lecourtois (F), at 5:06; 10. Somarriba Arrola (Sp), at 5:22.