By Chris Milliman, Special to VeloNews
With the rest of her summer hanging in the balance due to a missed post-race dope test in April, Canada’s Geneviéve Jeanson (RONA) set out to make the most of Saturday’s Montréal Women’s World Cup.
While she may yet be suspended for six months after the UCI doles out punishment for the missed test after the Flèche-Wallone World Cup, Jeanson won her third Montréal title in front of an overwhelmingly partisan home crowd that either didn’t know or didn’t care about their hero’s off-the-bike troubles.
“I don’t want to be suspended, but right now, winning this race, I’m so happy,” said a candid Jeanson after the race.
The 12 laps of the grueling 8.3km circuit winnowed the field down to a manageable size by the halfway point, with all the major players still in contention, including World Cup leader Oenone Wood (Australian National Team), Lyne Bessette (Quark), Jeannie Longo (French National Team), and Judith Arndt (Nürnberger). With Jeanson’s RONA squad somewhat weaker than in year’s past, Bessette’s Quark team animated the race, with early moves by Magali Le Floch and then by Bessette herself with two laps to go.
However, the final 1.5km climb to the top of Mont Royal has usually decided the podium in the previous six editions of the race, and this year proved no different. Having won last year’s race with a final-kilometer attack on Nicole Cooke, Jeanson knew the strongest rider would inevitably win. She waited until just after the steepest part of the climb on the final lap to launch her attack. Arndt and Olivia Gollan (Australian National Team) answered, but just barely, and Jeanson re-accelerated with enough gusto to seal the win. She finished several bike lengths ahead of Arndt and Gollan.
Arndt, fresh off finishing second overall at the 10-day Tour de L’Aude in France, was less than pleased with another runner-up position.
“I was second, not good enough today,” said the frustrated German.
As for Jeanson, her win came as a slight redemption for what has been an otherwise tumultuous 2004 season. With fewer wins, drugs controversies swirling, and a tarnished image, Jeanson’s career seemed in trouble before today. It was, in fact, the troubles of the past few months that Jeanson credited with giving her wings in the final kilometer.
“I don’t think I was in my best shape ever this year, but rage was driving me [today],” said Jeanson
Women’s World Cup, Montréal
1. Geneviéve Jeanson (Can), RONA, 12 laps in 2:55:46 (33.99 km/h)
2. Judith Arndt (G), Nürnberger, s.t.
3. Olivia Gollan (Aus), Australian National, s.t.
4. Barbara Heeb (Swi), Swiss National, at 0:04
5. Amber Neben (USA), T-Mobile, s.t.
6. Andrea Graus (A), Austrian National, s.t.
7. Anita Valen (Nor), Team SATS, s.t.
8. Annette Beutler (Swi), Swiss National, s.t.
9. Trine Hansen (Den), Team SATS, at 0:06
10. Lyne Bessette (Can), Quark, at 0:10
World Cup overall
1. Oenone Wood (Aus), Australian National, 202 pts
2. Zoulfia Zabirova (Rus), Let’s Go Finland, 154
3. Myrjiam Melchers (Ned), Farm Frites, 115
4. Angela Brodtka (G), German National, 79
5. Judith Arndt (G), Nürnberger, 77