Friday, June 13, 2008

Tour de PEI - Final Day

Oh, what a finish
Seehafer takes home the yellow jersey as the overall winner of the second Tour de P.E.I.

The Guardian

American Kori-Kelley Seehafer managed to hold onto her yellow jersey Thursday in Charlottetown, taking home the title of overall winner of the second Tour de P.E.I.

Seehafer said she was confident her team, Menikini-Selle Italia/Master Colour, would do well during the tour, although she didn't think she would be the one taking home the coveted yellow jersey.

“I thought the team would take the jersey,” the American said. “I’m pleasantly surprised it was me.”

Menikini-Selle Italia/

Master Colour led from start to finish in the five-stage P.E.I. event to win the overall team title.

Seehafer’s teammates Nathalie Bates and Trine Schmidt came in second and third in the overall results, sharing the podium with Seehafer.

Bates, who also won the polka-dot jersey for best climber of the tour, was 24 seconds off, while Schmidt was 2:24 behind Seehafer's time of 10:40:09.

Seehafer almost lost the lead Wednesday after a major spill caused her to crash.

She said the incident occurred after a cyclist ahead of her got nervous towards the end of the race.

When the cyclist spilled, Seehafer flew over her bike, crashing headfirst and cracking her helmet.

Up to Thursday morning, she was still feeling nauseous and dizzy, she said.

The group had one more thing to cheer about when another teammate, Rochelle Gilmore of Australia, won the tour's final race, the 50-lap Criterium, by less than a second Thursday.

Finishing the Charlottetown race in 1:14:28, she also won the red jersey for best overall sprinter of the tour.

Gilmore said while she was confident at first, her legs started to feel weak partway through.

“It wasn’t until the last five laps that I thought I could do it.”

She said none of it could’ve been achieved without the support of her teammates.

“My team did an enormous amount of work.”

She was happy the team was being recognized for that hard work, instead of just a single member.

“There’s a lot of time . . . only one gets to stand.”

Dalila Rodriguez of Equipe Nationale Cuba and Luxembourg’s Nathalie Lamborelle of team Uniqa took second and third place at the Criterium respectively, crossing the finish line neck and neck with Gilmore.

A final jersey was handed to Merrill Collins of Team Ontario, who was named best Canadian of the tour.

She was surprised at the win, saying she didn't think she was going to take home a jersey.

“Never. I came and I figured I’d race and do OK.”

She said her team has had a good week, and P.E.I. has been wonderful.

“It’s been a great five days . . . I would not question coming back.”

On Thursday, racing started with several cyclists taking the lead at different times, until three cyclists, Kristen Lasasso, Lang Meng and Moriah Jo MacGregor broke away from the others, gaining a 21-second lead.

Leading a second pack of cyclists was team Menikini-Selle Italia/Master Colour.

Seehafer said they were running at about 80 per cent capacity, waiting for their moment.

“So we could ramp it up at the end.”

Over the last dozen laps of the race, the second pack caught up to the leaders, gaining crucial seconds each lap to reach the front.

When the last lap was called, Seehafer took the lead, but it was Gilmore who crossed the finish line the final time around.


Tour de P.E.I. awards:

* Overall Individual - Kori-Kelley Seehafer.

* Overall Team - Menikini-Selle Italia/Masters Colour.

* Top Sprinter - Rochelle Gilmore.

* Queen of the Mountain - Nathalie Bates.

* Top Canadian - Merrill Collins.


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