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19th HP Women's Challenge - 2.9.1
June 15-23, 2002
2001 Results Preview Stages Start list Past Winners
By Jeff Jones
A classy international field of 96 riders will take the start of the 19th HP Women's Challenge in Boise, Idaho on Saturday, June 15. The race is one of the most important women's stage races in the world, and boasts a prize list of $US75,000, which is divided amongst several categories. This year's event will see a number of veterans of the race competing against the up and comers, and it promises to be a close fought contest.
The race runs for 9 days over 867 kilometres, including a 40 kilometre individual time trial, a criterium and seven road stages. The key feature of the HPWC is the altitude - the race only occasionally ventures below 1000 metres, and has a highest point of 2,631 metres (Galena Pass, Stage 4). In addition to this, four of the finishes are uphill, with stages 5, 6 and 7 sure to test the legs of the peloton at the end.
Bearing this in mind, the HPWC should favour the strongest climber who can also hold her own in a time trial. There are several riders with these abilities: Genevičve Jeanson (Team Rona) is the best at both when in top form, but she has not been as totally dominant this year as the beginning of last season. Also, she and her team are riding a nine day tour for the first time, and manager Andre Aubut has said rather than trying to win at all costs, the Rona riders will treat it as an "educational experience".
Last year's winner Lyne Bessette won't have the benefit of the strongest team in the race, Team Saturn. Instead, she will be riding for the Canadian National Team but can hold her own in this race.
The current World Road Champion and 1997 winner Rasa Polikeviciute has brought a strong Lithuanian team with her to Idaho. This includes her twin sister Jolanta, as well as Diana Ziliute, Zita Urbonaite, Erika Viliunaite and Modesta Vzisnauskaite. They will be a tough team to beat.
Team Saturn's hopes will probably lie with Judith Arndt, although with riders like Kimberly Bruckner and two time winner Anna Millward, they have plenty of versatility. There's also Catherine Marsal, Petra Rossner and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg in case they were lacking in any firepower...
The magenta clad US national team, Team T-Mobile, has improved in leaps and bounds this year, and this race will be one of their big goals. Led by the consistent Kimberly Anderson, T-Mobile features Mari Holden and Amber Neben, both of whom have demonstrated their prowess in stage races.
Other riders to watch include Caroline Alexander and Sara Symington (British National Team), Valentina Polkhanova (Itera), Priska Doppmann (Goldy's), Sarah Ulmer (New Zealand), and Monica and Anita Valen, of the Norweigian Sponsor Services team.
Boise British National Canadian National Contender/Optygen.com Goldy's Intermountain Orthopedic Itera Lithuanian National LSV/Trek/VW Mercy Fitness Center New Zealand Richard's/NIFC Rona Saturn Sponsor Services T Mobile
2001 Lyne Bessette (Can) 2000 Anna Wilson (Aus) 1999 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra) 1998 Linda Jackson (Can) 1997 Rasa Polikevicuite (Ltu) 1996 Anna Wilson (Aus) 1995 Dede Demet (USA) 1994 Clara Hughes (Can) 1993 Jeanne Golay (USA) 1992 Eve Stephenson (USA) 1991 Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli (Fra) 1990 Inga Thompson (USA) 1989 Lisa Brambani (USA) 1988 Katrin Tobin (USA) 1987 Inga Thompson (USA) 1986 Rebecca Twigg (USA) 1985 Rebecca Twigg (USA) 1984 Rebecca Twigg (USA)