Saturn’s Millward firmly in command of World Cup
By Lennard Zinn
On a day that started in the rain, passed through driving hail, and finished in bright sunshine, Fabiana Luperini confirmed that she is indeed on form this season with a dominating victory on the Mur de Huy in the women’s fourth World Cup of the season, Belgium’s Fleche Wallone, held April 18. The diminutive climber waited until the final climb to unleash a devastating attack that left her closest challengers, Anna Millward (neé Wilson) of Saturn and Trixi Worrack (German National) nine seconds back.
Throughout the 93.5km race over six steep hills in the Ardennes region of Belgium, the Edilsavino and Saturn teams of Luperini and Millward contained the ambitions of the GAS team and other attackers. Alexandra Nöhles was the only one allowed any room to roam. The tiny German Nürnberger rider pushed a solo attack up to a maximum advantage of 54 seconds between the 50km and 64km points, whereupon she was reeled in and dropped on the 212m Cote de Bohissau.
On all of the climbs, Luperini and her teammate Simona Parente pushed the pace, splitting the field first on the Bohissau and again on the Cote de Ahin 11km from the finish. A front group of 40 of the 124 riders remained together after the tortuous descent of the Ahin to contest the finish on the brutally steep Mur de Huy, where Luperini rolled away.
Saturn’s Millward said later, “I am so happy! I did not think I could beat Stahurskaia and the other climbers on the Mur. It’s great to have the jersey to myself now,” (the Australian entered the race tied on points with Mirjam Melchers of Acca Due O-Lorena).
LA FLECHE WALLONE, Huy, Belgium. April 18, 2001.
1. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, 93.5km in 2:41:32 (34.730kph); 2. Anna Millward (Aus), Saturn, at 0:09; 3. Trixi Worrack (G), German National, s.t.; 4. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), AlfaLum, at 0:15; 5. Ceris Gilfillan (GBR), British National, s.t.; 6. Heidi Van de Vijver (B), Vlaanderen-T-Interim, at 0:20; 7. Simona Parente (I), Edilsavino, at 0:22; 8. Zinaida Stahurskaia (BLR), GAS Sport, at 0:24; 9. Mirjam Melchers (Nl) Acca Due O-Lorena, 10. Susanne Ljungskog (S), Vlaanderen-T-Interim, all s.t.; 11. Judith Arndt (G), German National, at 0:31; 12. Fany Lecourtois (F), AlfaLum, at 0:36; 13. Cindy Pieters (B), Vlaanderen-T-Interim, s.t.; 14. Priska Doppmann (Swi), Acca Due O-Lorena, at 0:43; 15. Nicole Brändli (Swi), Acca Due O-Lorena, at 0:46; 16. Yvonne McGregor (GBR), British National, at 0:50; 17. Olga Zabelinskia (R), Carpe Diem-Itera, 18. Natalya Kachalka (Ukr), Michela Fanini Record Rox, all s.t.; 19. Sara Symington (GBR), British National, at 0:56; 25. Cybil Di Guistini (Can), C.A. Mantes La Ville 78, at 0:59; 37. Kim Bruckner, (USA), Saturn, at 1:23; 42. Lara Ruthven (USA), Carpe Diem-Itera, at 2:50; 45. Karry Ellen Hellmuth (USA), Carpe Diem-Itera, at 2:58; 57. Laura Charameda (USA), S.C. Michela Fanini Record Rox, at 3:28; 64. Mari Holden (USA), AlfaLum, at 6:01; 75. Erinne Willock (Can), Canadian National, at 6:48.
World Cup Overall Rankings (after four races): 1. Anna Millward (Aus), Saturn, 200 pts.