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TQ Paper International Two Day - NE
Ireland, September 18-19, 2004
Stages 1 & 2: Gutteridge, Swift win stages of TQ Paper International; Moriarty leads
By Shane Stokes
At the end of day one of this year's TQ Paper international, the Team Ireland A squad are in a commanding position with Louise Moriarty and Colette Swift tied on time at the top of the general classification. Moriarty finished second to UK rider Helen Gutteridge (Team Luciano) at the end of the opening 64 kilometre circuit race, jumping away in pursuit of the leader with about 500 metres to go and opening up a two second lead on the rest of the main bunch. While Moriarty was unable to catch Gutteridge, the time she gained over third-placed Joukje Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix), Inge Klep (Movingladies Groenewoud) and the rest of the group proved invaluable in landing her the overall lead after the two kilometre afternoon time trial, where she finished third.
Moriarty will start tomorrow's final stage in yellow, marking the first time in her career that the Dubliner has lead a major stage race.
Top honours in today's afternoon time trial went to Moriarty's team-mate Colette Swift, who carved her way through a stiff headwind to record a time of 3 minutes 58.55 seconds for the distance. The effort saw her finish just over four seconds up on WV Alemaria Victrix rider Joukje Braam and Moriarty, with four other riders within ten seconds of her mark. The two Irish girls share the same time in the overall classification but Moriarty takes yellow due to her better stage placings. Braam, Gutteridge, Julie O'Hagan and Siobhan Dervan (both Ireland A) complete the top six, with Welshwomen Kirsten Brooks and Caroline Gray next in line.
How it unfolded
Stage 1, 64 kilometre road race
A biggest-ever total of 61 riders lined out for stage one of the TQ Paper International, a pancake flat, wind buffeted stage which took in eight eight-kilometre laps of the Boot Inn circuit beside Dublin Airport. Erin Turkington (Team Ireland A) punctured immediately after the start and, with a succession of attacks ramping up the speed, the junior rider had a very tough task in hand. Her team-mate Colette Swift hung off the back of the bunch for several minutes in the hope that Turnkington would be able to move up in the cavalcade, but then moved back up to the front when it became clear that she wouldn't get back on.
The early stage of the race was marked by a number of short lived moves, the freshness of the bunch meaning that little leeway was given to those who sought to break clear. The Ireland A team were particularly aggressive, with Swift, Siobhan Dervan and national champion Julie O'Hagan trying on several occasions to solo clear. Shortly after the end of the third lap Orla Hendron (Leinster) forged ahead, built a decent lead but then came back quickly when she turned into the strong headwind. Within one kilometre of her recapture a huge crash took place, the domino effect taking down a substantial chunk of the field.
The pileup created a front group of 31 riders and also an acceleration in pace, adrenalin and opportunism prompting the leaders to click it up a sprocket or two. This increase in speed stretched out the bunch and eliminated the overly-defensive riding which characterised the first three and a half laps. With just under two laps to go a four woman group comprising Louise Moriarty (Team Ireland), Helen Gutteridge (Team Luciano) and Movingladies Groenewoud team-mates Inge Klep and Linda Ringlever moved clear. These established a decent lead but a lack of co-operation saw them reeled back in two kilometres later.
Once Moriarty was back in the bunch her Ireland A team-mate Siobhan Dervan countered but was recaptured; O'Hagan then made her bid along with Sharon Van Essen (Movingladies Groenewoud) just after the bell for the final lap but, after a brief period of freedom, they too were hauled back. With five kilometres remaining Gutteridge seized the moment and finally broke the elastic of the bunch, soloing clear and building a decent lead. Another big crash in the front group helped disrupt the chase, but in all likelihood Gutteridge would not have been caught; riding strongly, she cruised all the way to the line where she took an excellent stage victory ahead of Moriarty and the rest of the chasers. This put her firmly at the head of the general classification before the afternoon time trial.
Images by Shane Stokes/www.irishcycling.com
Stage 2, 2 km TT
A strong headwind faced the riders for the straight-out, pancake-flat race against the clock, producing slow times for the test. As race leader, Gutteridge was last to go but her ambitions of holding on at the top were foiled when she finished ninth, just over 14 seconds behind the fastest rider. The stage honours went to Ireland A's Colette Swift, the French-based rider living up to her name in taking the win by four seconds from Joukje Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix) and Moriarty. The new Irish time trial champion Siobhan Dervan was determined to do a good ride but lost her chance of a top-four place when she pulled her foot out of the pedal immediately after her start. She got going again and finished sixth, just behind Samantha Van Gerbing (BC Central Division) and Julie O'Hagan (Team Ireland A). Seventh place went to the latter's team-mate Mary Brennan, who will represent Ireland in the junior women's road race in Verona.
Moriarty's third place on the stage was enough to move her level on time with Swift but, due to her better stage placings, into the leader's yellow jersey. Braam would start the final stage three seconds back, with Gutteridge fourth at four seconds. The strength of the Team Ireland A was further underlined by the placings of O'Hagan and Dervan, fifth and sixth overall. The race is by no means over, but their strength in depth suggests that the first home win since 1999 is more than possible.
Moriarty was delighted after the race. "It is great that the two of us are right up there, sharing the lead," she said. "I don't know how we will play it tomorrow - it is up to the manager. It is my first time leading a race like this so I am very happy, but the most important thing is that there is an Irish winner, whether that is me, Colette or someone else."
"The fact that the two of us are at the top of the general classification kind of confirms our selection for the world championships."
When asked if she knew she would do a good time trial ride, Moriarty said that she was unsure of her chances before the test. "To be honest, I never feel that confident before a TT. It went well so I am really chuffed with that. I got a couple of seconds on the bunch in the road stage this morning, which was important. I had been planning to make my move just after the last corner, especially with the strong tailwind, but as I was boxed in I only got out closer to the line. I think I was closing a bit on the winner, but she was going very well. It was important to get that couple of seconds on the bunch."
"I don't know how things will work out tomorrow. I don't think I have ever led a big race before. It is very nice to know that Colette is right up there too and is so strong - if anything happens to me it is still covered. If I attacked and blew I think that she would be able to take over…that really takes the pressure off."
The TQ Paper International two day concludes with a hilly 74 mile road race tomorrow morning.
Images by Shane Stokes/www.irishcycling.com
1 Colette Swift (Team Ireland A) 3.58.55 2 Joukje Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix) 4.37 3 Louse Moriarty (Team Ireland A) 4.66 4 Samantha Van Gerbing (BC Central Division) 6.43 5 Julie O’Hagan (Team Ireland A) 8.75 6 Siobhan Dervan (Team Ireland A) 9.83 7 Mary Brennan (Team Ireland A) 9.99 8 Kirsten Brooks (Wales) 12.54 9 Helen Gutteridge (Team Luciano) 14.56 10 Erin Turkington (Team Ireland A) 19.76 General classification after stage 2 1 Louise Moriarty (Team Ireland A) 1.45.52 2 Colette Swift (Team Ireland A) 3 Jouke Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix) 0.03 4 Helen Gutteridge (Team Luciano) 0.04 5 Julie O’Hagan (Team Ireland A) 0.09 6 Siobhan Dervan (Team Ireland A) 0.10 7 Kirsten Brooks (Wales) 0.13 8 Caroline Gray (Wales) 0.20 9 Yvonne Schroeder (RG Charlottenburg Berlin) 0.22 10 Mary Brennan (Team Ireland A) 0.24 Points classification 1 Louise Moriarty (Team Ireland A) 17 pts 2 Jouke Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix) 17 3 Helen Gutteridge (Team Luciano) 12 4 Colette Swift (Team Ireland A) 10 5 Inge Klep (Team Movingladies Groenewoud) 7 Junior classification 1 Jouke Braam (W.V. Alcmaria Victrix) 1.45.55 2 Mary Brennan (Team Ireland A) 0.21 3 Kim Blythe (Team Luciano) 0.21 4 Lauren O’Neill (Team Luciano) 1.26 5 Katja Broxtermaan (RG Charlottenburg Berlin) 7.48 Veteran classification 1 Ann McFarland (Cycling Ulster) 1.46.37 2 Orla Hendron (Team Ireland B) 0.57