What's Cool In Road Cycling

Chrono Champenois Previews Women’s World TT

Pascal Orsini packed a bottle of cold champagne and a collection of his hand-painted cycling miniatures when he headed to the 17th Chrono-Champenois
time trial this week in France. He reports that he found the full-sized competitors at the women’s 1.1 UCI event nearly as impressive as the mini-me’s, and the race might offer a preview of the upcoming World’s Time Trial Championships.

– Words & Pics by Pascal Orsini, Translation by Steve Frothingham –

Last Sunday, I took my car and went on the flat road between my home and Betheny, north of Rheims, France, to witness the 17th Chrono-Champenois, an international womens’s 1.1 UCI–level Individual Time Trial.

The author’s hand painted-miniatures and the local beverage bottle – essential gear for race watching in France.

Weather was very good: sunny, with a light wind. And the champagne was fresh in the back, just to make sure the day would be good! I was going there for the first time for at least six years. My first objective was an exhibition of my miniatures. Second was to enjoy the day and follow the women’s race.

I first made a round through the cars and took some photos of them. I then installed my own table of miniatures about 20 meters from the start-finish area.

Race director Jacky Brovelli’s car was a Ford Flex-Fuel, currently on test
in the Champagne region. Bio-ethanol is made from sugar cane, not from grapes !

All the miniatures were ready and I secured some work for this coming winter,
as some people were really interested in them and wanted some!

Back to the race: my first glance at the start-list of 21 contenders was very interesting, as the list was likely very similar to what we’ll see at the Women ITT World Championships in Salzburg.

Kathy Watt from Australia was the 2005 winner.

Two-time ITT World Champion and Bronze medallist at Athens Olympic, Karin Thьrig, was there. Many of the current national champions were also in Betheny to compete in the 33-kilometer race. The lineup included the current ITT champions from Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Italy, France and Lithuania, along with Jeanie Longo, who has more championships than (chainring) teeth.

Mrs WU, one of the two Chinese contenders currently in Europe preparing for the Beijing Olympic games.

Edita Puncinskaite is the Lithuanian ITT champ, as well as the winner of the
last Women’s Giro. She is on an Italian professional team.

Austrian Christiane Soeder was the first to start and to show she will be ready
for the World Championships at home. At the mid-race checkpoint, she was first.

Christiane Soeder starting.

Second was Andrea Thьrig at 23″, and then Karin Thьrig at 32″. Soeder found the second part of the race a little bit harder as her teammate Karin Thьrig was producing her maximum effort. The last kilometers were very exciting as the race was close between the first two women. At the end, just 94-hundreths of a second separated winner Karin Thьrig from Soeder, who proved that she can secure a home-country medal in two weeks. Andrйa Thьrig was on the third step.

Karin Thьrig won with an incredible 0.94” gap

French cycling legend Jeannie Longo finished 5th, and looked very tired and disappointed at the end.

Results: Women Chrono Champenois (33,4 km; average of the winner 44,53 km/h)

1.THURIG Karin (Sui) 45’00″16
2 SOEDER Christiane (Aut) а 0″94
3 THURIG Andrea (Sui) а 50″88
4 HOUVENAGHEL Wendy (Gbr) а 1’49″03
5 LONGO Jeannie (Fra) а 1’59″35
6 PITEL Edwige (Fra) а 2’03″48
7 SAMPLONIUS Anne (Can) а 2’11″33
8 PUCINSKAITE Edita (Ltu) а 2’32″31
9 WATT Kathy (Aus) а 2’56″26
10 ROMERO Rebecca (Gbr) а 3’17″60
11 VALSECCHI Silvia (Ita) а 4’04″06
12 VAN RIE An (Bel) а 4’06″37
13 KOEDOODER Vera (Ned) а 4’16″32
14 GAUTARD Karine (Fra) а 4’23″86
15 LEITNER Rachel (Fra) а 6’13″77
16 MERLOT Emmanuelle (Fra) а 7’20″11
17 VIGARIO Ana (Por) а 8’31″79 Out of time :
18 WU Yun Mei (Chi) а 9’41″29
19 JIANG Yan Xia (Chi) а 10’48″57
20 VITORINO Claudia (Por) а 11’30″36
21 DEVILLE Natacha (Fra) а 13’53″30

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