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courtesy Team Rona

Idaho City, Idaho, June 15, 2002 – Petra Rossner (GER, Saturn Timex)
sprinted to victory at the first of the nine stages of the 2002 HP Women’s
Challenge 2002, held under a more than 32 °C temperature.

Thus she was the
first to don the blue GC leader’s jersey. Thanks to the time bonuses her
victory earned her, Rossner lead thwo Lithuanians, Diana Ziliute and
Jolanta Polikeviviute, by four and six seconds respectively.

Out of 90 starters, 55 finished with the same time as the winner.
The six RONA starters finished in the peloton. Geneviève Jeanson (CAN,
RONA) finished 18th in the stage. But having earned 3 bonus seconds by
winning the only mountain sprint of the day, she stands sixth in GC, seven
seconds behind Rossner. Melissa Holt, harvested one second in a hot spot
sprint and is now 8th in GC.

Geneviève Jeanson claimed the green Queen of the Mountain jersey and
the yellow jersey for the best young rider (under 23). Lyne Bessette
finished in the first peloton and is 23rd in GC. “Our team is exactly
where we wanted it at this point”, said RONA manager André Aubut after the
race. “All RONA team members finished in the same time as the winner and we
wasted no energy. The real difficulties are ahead of us, and we must be
ready to face them. The field is strong, the course will only become more
difficult, it will be a tough race.”

The 90-rider peloton started to a smooth ride and stayed rather
quiet for the first part of the race. In fact, it took almost 70 km of a
105-km race to see a little action at the front. Manon Jutras (CAN, RONA)
launched the hostilities as the peloton approached the only Queen of the
Mountain spot of the stage. A little more than one km fron the summit,
Jutras hardened the pace to prepare the ground for her leader Jeanson. “We
did want Geneviève to win the points and the time bonus, and I wanted to
prevent any attack on the way there”, said Jutras after the race.

It worked, although Idaho’s Goldy’s team gave their fans a very
good show. “Two Goldy’s attacked 600 meters from the sprint line and I had
to react quickly so they wouldn’t drop me”, remembered Jeanson. But
Jeanson won the Queen of the Mountain sprint.

This launched the race into a new, nervous phase. Only 10 km after
the Queen of the Mountain sprint, there was the day’s Hot Spot, for points
and time bonus. Sarah Ulmer (NZL, NZL National) won the sprint, followed
by Heather Albert (USA, Goldy’s ) and Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA).

Twenty-five km from the finish, the Lithuanians declared war.
Once, twice, three times they attacked and tried to create a gap. But the
peloton was not in a negotiating mood. Nobody could exceed a 10 second
lead.. Rossner’s Saturn, Mari Holden’s (USA) T-Mobile, Jeanson’s RONA
bridged every gap. Attack followed attack until, 4 km from the finish,
Cathy Marsal (FRA, Saturn Timex) tried one last time. And failed.

So it was a 55-strong field that sprinted to the finish line. And
Petra Rossner honoured her reputation. All 90 starters completed the stage
and there were no time cuts.

HP Women’s Challenge
1st Stage: Boise – Idaho City

Stage Classification

1. Petra Rossner (GER, Saturn Timex) 105 km in 2h49’03” (avg. 37.14
km/h) (bonus 10″)

2. Diana Ziliute (LIT, Lithuanian National) s.t. (bonus 6”)

3. Jolanta Polikeviciute (LIT, Lithuanian National) s.t. (bonus 4”)

4. Sarah Ulmer (NZL, Team NZL) s.t. (bonus 3”)

5. Anna Millward (AUS, Saturn Timex) s.t.

6. Judith Arndt (GER, Saturn Timex) s.t.

7. Rachel Heal (GBR, British National) s.t.

8. Svetlana Samokhvalova (RUS, Itera)


9. Gina Grain (CAN, Boise) s.t.

10. Verra Carrara (ITA, Itera) s.t.

14. Gail Longenecker (USA, RONA) s.t.

16. Heather Albert (USA, Goldy’s ) s.t. (bonus 4”)

18. Geneviève Jeanson (CAN, RONA) s.t. (bonus 3”)

21. Lyne Bessette (CAN, Canadian National) s.t.

23. Amy Jarvis (CAN, RONA) s.t.

46. Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA) s.t.

48. Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA) s.t. (bonus 1”)

54. Manon Jutras (CAN, RONA) s.t.

General Classification after 1st stage

1. Petra Rossner (GER, Saturn Timex) 2h

48′ 53”

2. Dian Ziliute (LIT, Lithuanian National) 4”

3. Jolanta Polikeviciute (LIT, Lithuanian National) 6”

4. Heather Albert (USA, Goldy’s ) 6”

5. Sarah Ulmer (NZL, Team NZL) 7”

6. Geneviève Jeanson (CAN, RONA) 7”

7. Kristin Armstrong (USA, Goldy’s ) 9”

8. Melissa Holt (NZL, RONA) 9”

9. Anna Millward (AUS, Saturn Timex) 10”

10. Judith Arndt (GER, Saturn Timex) s.t.

11. Rachel Heal (GBR, British National) s.t.

12. Svetlana Samokhvalova (RUS, Itera) s.t.

9. Gina Grain (CAN, Boise) s.t.

10. Verra Carrara (ITA, Itera) s.t.

17. Gail Longenecker (USA, RONA) s.t.

23. Lyne Bessette (CAN, Canadian National) s.t.

25. Amy Jarvis (CAN, RONA) s.t.

48. Andrea Hannos (CAN, RONA) s.t.

55. Manon Jutras (CAN, RONA) s.t.

Tomorrow’s stage, 93.6 km-long, will bring the peloton from Lowman to
Stanley. It is a long, 55-km climb, followed by a 40-km descent. Break
aways usually do not stay until the finish line here. But it could be an
attrition race and the first half of the stage could do a lot of damage
among the unprepared.

The RONA cycling team is one of only two Canadian women’s elite
cycling teams acknowledged by the International Cycling Union. RONA is the
leading distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening
products in Canada. Team RONA receives additional financial support from
Quebecor World, the world’s largest commercial printer.

Team RONA receives equipment sponsorship from several
manufacturers, including Colnago, Biemme, Shimano, Michelin, Mavic,
Diadora, Limar, Selle Italia, Speedplay, ITM, CatEye, Tacx and Finish Line

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