(Phoenix, Arizona) February 16, 2003 – For the third consecutive year, Team RONA's GeneviÃƒÂ¨ve Jeanson scored a convincing win at the Valley of the Sun Race, the now traditional pre-season event held in Arizona. Jeanson won the overall general classification and each of the three stages. She beat her ex-teammate Manon Jutras, now with Saturn, and French rider Catherine Marsal, who made it to the podium in her first race in her new RONA colors.
Jeanson won Friday's 20k time trial, four seconds ahead of Jutras and six seconds ahead of Marsal.
The second stage, Saturday, was a 92k road race, in the desert near Phoenix. The stage covered three and a half laps on a rectangular, relatively flat course, with a false flat turning into a slight climb over the last two km. After an uneventful race Jeanson won the sprint in front of Canadian Susan Palmer-Komar (Genesis Scuba). Jeanson had also picked up a few bonus seconds by winning some intermediate sprints.
Sunday's stage was a 40-minute criterium in the streets of Phoenix. Trying to get Marsal to climb from third to second place in GC, Jeanson and her teammates attacked continuously, but Saturn held on. The two teams controlled the pack for the last five laps and Jeanson was the first to cross the finish line, ahead of Lynn Gaggioli.
Apart from Jeanson and Marsal, Team RONA was represented by Karen Bockel (GER), Andrea Hannos (CAN), Kristen LaSasso (USA) and Carrie Tuck (CAN)
Final General Classification
1. GeneviÃƒÂ¨ve Jeanson (CAN, RONA)
2. Manon Jutras (CAN, Saturn)