A photo finish
Riders create a blur of colour at end of Tour de P.E.I.’s Stage 4 race in Georgetown
GEORGETOWN — It was a nail biter.
And in a blur of colour and speed, the cyclists in the Tour de P.E.I. roared across the finish line like a solid mass in Georgetown on Wednesday.
So close were they that organizers deemed it a photo finish and a hush fell over the crowd as officials determined just who won stage four of the adventure.
When the riders were called to the stage, it was the exact same names as on Tuesday.
Italian Giorgia Bronzini just clipped the first-place finish over Rochelle Gilmore of Sydney, Australia, while Netherlands born Martine Bras claimed third.
All three riders completed the race in a time of three hours, 13 minutes, 54 seconds.
Tara Whitten of Edmonton reclaimed the yellow jersey as the leading overall rider from Bridie O’Donnell of Australia.
“I had a bit of a crash,” Whitten said after reclaiming her jersey at the stage set up in the Macdonald Gardens near the Kings Playhouse. “A few of us got caught up, but it was nothing serious. However, it delayed me a bit.”
Meanwhile, Gilmore claimed the red sprint jersey as all cyclists prepare for the final stage of the race today in Charlottetown.
The Wednesday leg of the race — all 120 kilometres — took the racers from Dalvay to Mount Stewart and from Montague through the hills of Caledonia and back to Poole’s Corner and Georgetown.
“I came off her wheel just a wee bit late,’’ offered Gilmore about the nail-biter finish. “But every day I’m getting closer and maybe tomorrow I’ll get by her. I’m starting to feel better every day.”
Canadians Véronique Fortin and Natasha Elliott broke away from the pack just before entering Montague and maintained the lead for 15 kilometres.
The two riders, however, were caught by the peloton following many attacks and pursuits by the group.
Despite the hills of Caledonia — steep even for vehicles — Gilmore said the third leg was actually flatter overall than Tuesday through central Queens.
“I found the racing quite calm today and I just stayed with the pack until the end.”
Tour de P.E.I., a five-day, five-stage international women’s cycling race across P.EI., concludes today with a criterium in the heart of Charlottetown.
The stage will get underway at 5:30 p.m.
Tour de P.E.I. at a glance:
n Today’s Stage 5 in Charlottetown will start at 5:30 p.m. on Grafton Street, in front of Province House, with the peloton looping east and then south on Prince Street, west along Sydney Street, and north on Queen Street, past the evening patio-dwellers on Victoria Row, in a criterium totalling 49.25 kilometres.
n A celebrity race will start at 3:45 p.m. along the same route, followed by a juniors race at 4 p.m.
n After the final awards ceremony at 7 p.m., there will be music by Rawlins Cross at a rain-or-shine, free public concert on the steps of the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
n Full results available at www.tourdepei.com.