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Hamilton City
Primavera Rosa

Men's Fleche Wallonne


Pearl Izumi
Lemond Bikes

5th Fleche Wallonne - CDM

Belgium, April 17, 2002

2001 Results    Preview     Start List    Past winners    Men's Fleche Wallonne


Rossner to defend lead in the Ardennes

By Jeff Jones

The fourth round of the women's World Cup will take place in the Ardennes in Belgium, with the 5th women's Flèche Wallonne. The race is run on the same day as the men's classic (non-World Cup) over part of the same parcours. The women have to tackle a 93.5 kilometre loop starting and finishing in Huy, with the well known Mur de Huy serving as the final climb.

Although short, the race is considered one of the hardest of the women's World Cup. There are six climbs of between 1 and 2.7 km, averaging between 4 and 13.5%. The climbing begins at kilometre 13.5 with the Côte de France (2.5 km at 5.8%), followed by the Côte de Pailhe (km 37.5, 1.5 km @ 4%), Côte de Coutisse (km 55.5, 1 km @ 6.1%), Côte de Bohissau (km 65.7, 2.7 km @ 5.9%), Côte de Ahin (km 82.5, 2km @ 7.9%), Mur de Huy (finish, 1km @ 13.5% with stretches at 20%).

Defending champion this year is Fabiana Luperini (Edilsavino), who also won in 1998. She has been quiet so far this year, but is well suited to the finish. Her competition includes Dutch winner of La Primavera Rosa, Mirjam Melchers (Farm Frites Hartol), currently in second position in the World Cup and looking like a very strong challenger this year. Melchers will once again have the support of Leontien Zijlaard Van Moorsel, a crucial part of her Primavera Rosa victory.

Team Saturn will be looking to stop Melchers gaining too many points, as they have Petra Rossner at the top of the World Cup table. Although Rossner is practically unbeatable in a sprint, the climb to the top of Huy will not suit her too well, so look for her teammates Lyne Bessette, Judith Arndt and Kim Bruckner to be at the finish when it counts.

Acca Due O's strong line up including Rasa Polikeviciute, Nicole Brändli, Chantal Beltman and Diana Ziliute should be able to thrown a spanner in the works, but Vlaanderen-T Interim will be without star rider Susanne Ljungskog, who has pneumonia.

Top Swiss performer Priska Doppmann will lead her national team, while Sara Carrigan and Hayley Rutherford are the likely riders to watch in the Australian national team. Australian champion Margaret Hemsley is riding for Nürnberger, along with Germany's Hanka Kupfernagel, both of whom are accomplished climbers.

Nicole Cooke (Deia Pragma Colnago) has been doing well in the Italian national races, and could be a surprise podium finisher in La Flèche Wallonne.

Weather conditions are expected to be cool, between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. There is a chance of rain but it should remain fairly dry.

Past winners

2001 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Edilsavino               93 kms in 2.41.32 
2000 Genevieve Jeanson (Can) Canada
1999 Hanka Kupfernagel (Ger) Greenery Hawk Team
1998 Fabiana Luperini (Ita)   

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