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29th Trophée des Grimpeurs - 1.3
France, May 4, 2003
Rous rules the Grimpeurs roost
By Chris Henry
Didier Rous (Brioches La Boulangère) won today's Trophée des Grimpeurs, claiming his second victory in the event and his team's third consecutive win on the challenging circuit around Argenteuil, France. Rous has a good history here, having finished second in 1993, his first year as a professional, and winning in 2001 and 2003. The Brioches La Boulangère team put on another impressive display, keeping the pressure on at the sharp end of the race, and defending Rous' lead from behind once he made his move.
"I attacked just to attack, for the team, to make a selection," Rous explained after his win. "But I found myself alone and nobody joined me, so I decided to continue."
The Trophée des Grimpeurs ("climbers trophy") is an unusual name for a circuit race held on the outskirts of Paris, featuring as the principal difficulty a climb of only 300m. The Côte de l'Ermitage certainly isn't the longest of climbs, nor is it the steepest, but in a race that tackles the 13% rise 16 times over 134km, it's no doubt a hill that hurts. The race is also one whereby the strongest man is by no means guaranteed a win, rather it's the rider who best judges his strength in a race of attrition who often comes out on top.
Under clear blue skies and a strong sun, the race kicked off at an infernal pace. Riders who took some early pre-race tours around the busy streets of Argenteuil were wise, as there was no grace period once the short neutral start was over. The first lap of the 8.3km circuit was covered at an average speed of 46km/h, and the damage was evident. A number of riders were dropped on the very first ascension of the Côte de l'Ermitage, and for some, the race was over almost as quickly as it began. The Barloworld team from South Africa was one victim of the high speeds, losing Hilton Clarke and Ryan Cox on lap one.
In the early stages of the race, an early attack and counter attack joined forces to create a group of some 20 riders, with most of the principal teams and favourites represented. In the move were former Grimpeurs winners Richard Virenque (Quick.Step-Davitamon), Sylvain Chavanel and Didier Rous (Brioches La Boulangère), and other contenders including Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole), Laurent Brochard (Ag2R-Prévoyance), and French national champion Nicolas Vogondy (FDJeux.com).
Two teams in particular took the race in hand. La Boulangère was clearly motivated, with Emmanuel Magnien and Franck Bouyer providing additional leg power. Another team to make its mark was the Colombian 05 Orbitel team, tipped by many as a force to be reckoned with on the hilly circuit, notably with Hernán Bonilla, and Félix Cárdenas.
On the other hand, Cyclingnews spoke before the start with two riders who are currently looking to regain form after some recent setbacks: Baden Cooke (FDJeux.com) and David Millar (Cofidis). The Trophée des Grimpeurs was Millar's second race back after his crash in the Critérium International, and he was clearly happy to be back in the peloton, despite his poor form. "I've recovered physically, I'm just so unfit it's ridiculous," Millar commented. "I hate this course when I'm going well..."
Rous was going well, however, and as the race entered its crucial stage, the former French champion took the initiative to attack the lead group with 6 laps to go, after Moreau, Brochard, and Virenque had dropped off the pace and been relegated to a chase group some 20" behind. With young Jérôme Pineau marking the moves behind, Rous was able to quickly build an advantage which over the next few laps stretched to over two minutes. The chase six man chase featured the following composition: Vogondy, Bonilla, Frank Pencolé (MBK-Oktos), Ludovic Auger (BigMat), Pineau, and Manu L'Hoir (Marlux Wincor). Despite the strength of the group, the chase lacked the organisation required to bring Rous back.
Nevertheless, as the six chasers reached the same conclusion, the activity picked up once more. Nicolas Vogondy did what he could to force the pace, but appeared disappointed at the lack of resolve from his fellow chasers. Meanwhile, behind the first chase, Christophe Moreau put his never say die attitude on display, attacking from the second chase group and closing the gap to the group of six, along with Orbitel's Marlon Pérez.
In the final lap, Rous still held nearly two minutes on the chasers, a comfortable margin for the short 8.3km circuit. The seconds lost on the final ascent of the Côte de l'Ermitage were of no concern to Rous, who mustered only a short pump of his fist as he crossed the line victorious. Behind, Moreau managed to bridge the gap to the first chase group, as did Pérez, who went one better and attacked before the final climb and crossed the line 5" ahead of Rous' faithful teammate Pineau. In a race designed for climbers, Didier Rous proved once again that it's a 'puncheur' who can take the day.
Images by Chris Henry/Cyclingnews
Images by Peter Geyer from the women's race...
... and the men's
1 Didier Rous (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 3.07.53 (42.761 km/h) 2 Marlon Perez (Col) 05 Orbitel 1.35 3 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 1.40 4 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93 1.43 5 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) fdjeux.com 1.47 6 Franck Pencole (Fra) MBK - Oktos - Saint-Quentin 7 Manu L'hoir (Bel) Marlux - Wincor Nixdorf 8 Hernan Bonilla (Col) 05 Orbitel 9 Christophen Moreau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 1.56 10 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) fdjeux.com 4.07 11 Félix Cardenas (Col) 05 Orbitel 4.14 12 Carlos Dacruz (Fra) fdjeux.com 6.44 13 Richard Virenque (Fra) Quick.Step-Davitamon 14 Javier Zapata (Col) 05 Orbitel 15 Andrey Mizourov (Kaz) MBK - Oktos - Saint-Quentin 16 Carlos Contreras (Col) 05 Orbitel 17 Laurent Brochard (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 6.51 18 Sébastien Talabardon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93 6.53 19 Maryan Hary (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 6.55 20 Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Jean Delatour 6.56 21 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 7.03 22 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Jean Delatour 8.38 23 Yasutaka Tashiro (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor 24 Sergeï Krushevskiy (Uzb) MBK - Oktos - Saint-Quentin 25 Christophe Rinero (Fra) MBK - Oktos - Saint-Quentin 26 Vincent Templier (Fra) MBK - Oktos - Saint-Quentin 8.44 27 Nicolas Meunier (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93 8.46 28 Jairo Hernandez (Col) 05 Orbitel 8.49 29 Erki Pütsep (Est) AG2r Prévoyance 30 David Derepas (Fra) fdjeux.com 31 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 32 Javier Gonzalez (Col) 05 Orbitel 33 Plamen Stoyanov (Bul) Big Mat - Auber 93 34 Christian Poos (Lux) Marlux - Wincor Nixdorf 35 Hernan Buenahora (Col) 05 Orbitel 36 Anthony Morin (Fra) Crédit Agricole 37 Felix Garcia Casas (Spa) Big Mat - Auber 93 38 David Lefevre (Fra) Jean Delatour 39 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 9.01 40 Takehiro Mizutani (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor 9.05 41 Julien Laidoun (Fra) AG2r Prévoyance 9.15 42 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 9.18 43 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère 44 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Jean Delatour 9.21 45 Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor 11.57 Women 1 Magali Le Floch (Fra) Equipe Cycliste Rona - Esker 1.35.31 2 Jul. Vandekerckhove (Fra) NPC 0.27 3 Sandr. Marcuz Moreau (Fra) MPY 0.30 4 Sonia Huguet (Fra) MOS 0.40 5 Aline Camboulives (Fra) GS Mazza 1.22 6 Karine Dalmais (Fra) JUL 1.25 7 Edwidge Pitel (Fra) MAN 8 Laëtitia Belaud (Fra) PDL 1.28 9 Nadia Triquet (Fra) HUR 1.30 10 Maryline Salvetat (Fra) MPY 1.35 11 Zla Gavlakova Bazola (Svk) GER 2.37 12 Corinne Sempe (Fra) AQU 2.45 13 Alexandra Le Henaff (Fra) QUI 14 Vicky Fournial (Fra) PIC 15 Diana Rast (Swi) GS Mazza 16 Stéphanie Reymond (Fra) JUL 17 Sylvie Riedle (Fra) MOS 2.51 18 Jea. Longo-Ciprelli (Fra) MAN 19 Delphine Guille (Fra) PDL 20 Stéphanie Denuit (Fra) BOU 21 Eli. Chevanne Brunel (Fra) AQU 22 Blandine Camus (Fra) GS Mazza 2.57 23 Susan Smith (Can) AFF 24 Carol. Payot Podevin (Fra) GS Mazza 25 Alna Burato (Fra) JUL 26 Catherine Marsal (Fra) Equipe Cycliste Rona - Esker 27 Martine Gauthier (Fra) NIV 28 Claire Antomarchi (Fra) POM 29 Emilie Harmand (Fra) HUR 30 Géraldine Gill (Irl) QUT 3.09 31 Virginie Jacob (Fra) JUL 3.13 32 Mélanie Morenvillez (Fra) PIC 3.15 33 Elodie Touffet (Fra) PDL 3.23 34 Marion Clignet (Fra) CAS 3.33 35 Sandrine Le Berre (Fra) MPY 4.49 36 Bridget Evans (Aus) BRI 4.59 37 Aude Pollet (Fra) CHC 6.51 38 Sophie Evrard (Fra) NOG 6.56 39 E. Mermillod Anselme (Fra) HSA 6.58 40 Béatrice Thomas (Fra) GS Mazza 7.04 41 M. Laloux Notebaert (Fra) NPC 42 Emilie Belmontet (Fra) VCC 43 Julie Hutsebaut (Can) IDF 44 Magali Simonot (Fra) BOU 7.10 45 Laurence Ayer (Fra) IDF 8.33 46 Karine Gautard (Fra) LIV 10.07 47 Séver. Desmarchelier (Fra) ORL 48 Katherine White (Can) HVA 10.11 49 Nath. Tirard Collet (Fra) HSA 50 Angélique Saldana (Fra) MPY 51 Marie Pommard (Fra) CHC 52 Stephanie Decamps (Fra) NPC 10.15 53 Marie Aline Bera (Fra) BOU 54 Bénédicte Guillot (Fra) ORL 10.20 55 Sylvie Duquenne (Fra) PIC 56 Jennyfer Schirra (Fra) MOS 57 Delphine Tonini (Fra) MPY 10.28 58 Magali Finot Laivier (Fra) BOU 10.34 59 Marie Laure Cloarec (Fra) IDF 10.39 60 Aude Vaxelaire (Fra) HUR 13.56 61 Alexandra Borruto (Fra) HSA 62 Fanny Riberot (Fra) JUL 63 Ludivine Loze (Fra) MPY 64 Cindy Morvan (Fra) NPC 65 Stéphanie Gros (Fra) GER 14.03 66 Elisabeth Coupel (Fra) ORL 67 Odile Carre (Fra) CAS 68 Maureen Guichardot (Fra) ORG 14.08 69 Laetitia Fumey (Fra) ORN 70 Joëlle Michelet (Fra) IDF 14.14 71 Céline Mazuez (Fra) CHC 14.17 72 Geneviève Gagnon (Can) HVA 73 Je. Dehaas Boissiere (Fra) JUL 14.20 74 Gwen Oster (Fra) AQU 75 Christine Pain (Fra) JUL 14.26 76 Maryline Antonelli (Fra) MOS 14.38 77 Ophélie Ambroise (Fra) ORL 14.44 78 Jennifer Favier (Fra) NPC 14.52 79 Aline Parsy (Fra) NPC 15.15 80 Karine Paillet (Fra) IDF 81 Sabrina Pozza (Fra) CAS 16.41 82 Céline Hamelin (Fra) MEA 21.01 83 Audrey Descamps (Fra) AQU 23.09 84 Sylvie Levillain (Fra) MTY 28.33 85 Anne Morice (Fra) COC 35.54 86 Solenne Plisson (Fra) GER 37.23 87 Franþoise Larcon (Fra) PIE 37.36 88 Valérie Grevin (Fra) PIE 41.36
2002 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Bonjour 2001 Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour 132.8 kms in 3.07.57 2000 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour 133.3 kms in 3.07.32 1999 Laurent Roux (Fra) Casino 133.3 kms in 3.09.47 1998 Pascal Hervé (Fra) 133.3 kms in 3.14.03 1997 Davide Rebellin (Ita) 1996 Stéphane Heulot 1995 Armand de las Cuevas (Fra) 1994 Richard Virenque (Fra) Past winners courtesy of Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com