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Tour de Berne - CDM
Switzerland, April 23, 2006
The fifth round of the UCI world cup takes place in Berne, Switzerland - a new stop on the women's world cup circuit this year. The race is six laps of a 20.8 km city circuit (an old Bundesliga course) for 124.8 km total, with a fairly challenging 1 km climb in the middle of each lap. Despite this, the rest of the circuit is flat and should suit the sprinters.
The current leader of the world cup is still Ina Teutenberg (T-Mobile), who holds a slender 3 point advantage over Fleche Wallonne winner Nicole Cooke (Univega). A distant third at the moment is two-time world cup winner Oenone Wood (Nürnberger), and all three riders will be among the favourites for Sunday's race. Teutenberg has a strong team behind her, with Magali Le Floch recovered from illness, and Wood will have world champion Regina Schleicher at her side.
Mirjam Melchers (Buitenpoort Flexpoint) is in good form at the moment, and will be looking at improving her world cup position in the wake of her Tour of Flanders win. Her team worked strongly for a victory in Wednesday's Fleche Wallonne, but she had to settle for 33rd while her teammate Amber Neben finished fifth. Tina Mayolo Pic (USA National Team) and Olga Slioussareva (Russian National Team) are other sprinters to watch.
Edita Pucinskaite (Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas) finished just behind Neben in Fleche Wallonne, and could be a breakaway danger on Sunday. Local hopes will rest on Nicole Brändli (Bigla), while Fabiana Luperini (Fassa Bortolo) can never be counted out.