Don’t miss out on the latest CyclingTips updates.
Audrey Cordon outsprinted compatriot Amelie Rivat (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86) in a three-up sprint to win Cholet Pays de Loire Dames on Sunday. Mirima Bjørnsrud (Hitec Products) rounded out the podium.
The victory is Cordon’s second at the French circuit race and her third appearance on the podium. She sprinted to second last year to Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS). Cordon’s results marks a continuation of the Wiggle Honda hot-streak that includes wins by Giorgia Bronzini and Jolien d’Hoore in Drenthe last weekend.
“We have had a lot of success and a lot of fun,” said Cordon. “We haven’t had any training camps, and we’re still learning to race together. We knew that could take a lot of time, but we did it quickly. We already work really well together.”
“I think our secret is the team ambiance,” Cordon added. “We race in solidarity, and we help each other be better.”
Cordon enjoyed full support from her teammates from the start of the race to the finish. An integral part of d’Hoore’s win at Ronde van Drenthe last weekend, it was her team’s opportunity to return the favour – and Cordon did not disappoint.
“I can say it now – the plan was to protect me for the win,” Cordon revealed. “Our director wanted to give me a chance to express myself.”
“I’m happy to work for my teammates, and I do it with a lot pleasure,” Cordon added. “But mentally, I also need to put my hands up sometimes. I’m a competitor, and this win is important to keep my motivation at the top level.”
The circuit race unfolded into Wiggle Honda’s hands. They had numbers in every significant move, and dictated much of the race action.
“We took a lot of responsibility,” explained Cordon. “We knew that we were the team to beat today, so we didn’t have any choice. We had to make the race hard. The girls did a perfect job.”
The circuit race featured four 29km laps, each of which includes two significant climbs. The first of the two climbs is longer and steeper than the second, but both take their toll on tired legs in the second half of the race.
“We did the breakaway in the second lap,” said Cordon. “Anna [Sanchis], Gio [Giorgia Bronzini] and Mayuko [Hagiwara] did the climb full gas. All the girls did a perfect job. We were three in the front group. We had to play the right game after that. We had two cards – the first one with me and the second with Jolien.”
The 19-rider breakaway instigated by Wiggle Honda gained a maximum advantage of more than three minutes in the third lap.
“The cooperation was good in the group,” noted Cordon. “We all wanted to make the gap bigger, so everybody was turning. After we knew the gap was over three minutes, we started our tactic.”
The tactic was to attack – which Cordon did up the final climb on the final lap. Twelve kilometres from the finish, Cordon’s acceleration further fractured the group. Only 12 riders remained in contention. One last dig left only three out front.
“I had the benefit of knowing my two opponents,” explained Cordon. “They were both my teammates before. I was faster on paper, but you never know. I kept on the front from the last 800 metres, and I waited for the last 200 metres to sprint.”
It’s Cordon’s first victory in her new Wiggle Honda colours. The Frenchwomen made the move to the British-registered squad from Hitec Products at the start of the season.
“It’s a big change,” said Cordon. “I’m coming from a little village in the middle of Bretagne. I’m not used to having so much media around me! But on the other hand, all this attention is the best way to develop women’s cycling, and I’m very proud to be part of that.”
CORDON-RAGOT Audrey CORDON-RAGOT Audrey Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
|Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling||03:06:47|
RIVAT-MAS Amelie RIVAT-MAS Amelie Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86
BJØRNSRUD Miriam BJØRNSRUD Miriam Hitec Products