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National Roller Cup

Women's Rematch Shaping Up in Montreal

June 6, 2012

Planet report


Olivier Jean leading in 2011
photo: Fresh Photography

Once again, the two women to watch in the Marathon Roller Montreal with be Martine Charbonneau and Morgane Echardour.

Charbonneau, a 34-year-old graphic designer from Montreal, won the event last year and is rarely beaten in any long-distance race in Canada.

Echardour, a 24-year-old student at the Ontario College of Arts and Design, won the event in 2010 and might have been able to catch Charbonneau last year in the sprint — if there had been one.

Both women were in the lead pack last year when it finished its 13th lap on the PMG test track in Blainville, the new home of the marathon.

Based on GPS readings, the skaters thought they had another lap to go. They had only skated 39 kilometers and expected the marathon to be 42.

But race officials had overestimated the lap distance and had expected the skaters would reach 42K at the end of 13 laps. So as the pack was about to finish the 13th lap, the race officials waved the checkered flag, signally the end of the race.

A few skaters saw the flag and started sprinting. But most — including Charbonneau and Echardour — kept skating past the finish line and continued on for another lap — a lap that did not count.

Race officials determined the order of finish based on the chip times of skaters as they crossed the line at the end of the 13th lap. At that point, Charbonneau was three-tenths of a second ahead of Echardour, so Charbonneau won with Echardour second.

“I hope the race organizers have got the situation under control this year because last year was really frustrating,” says Echardour, who is sponsored this year by Calvano Racing.

Whatever happens, Charbonneau plans to stick with her usual race plan. “My strategy, as always, will be to keep up with the guys of the lead pack as long as possible,” she says.

Other women who are likely to contend for the podium are Candy Wong (Asphalt Beach), Shannon Hegarty and Valerie Maltais.

Saturday’s race will be without the men's defending champion, Olivier Jean, who, in fact, won the race in both 2011 and 2010.

Jean, a member of Canada’s short track ice team, will be in Europe for a pre-season ice race in Hungary.

His absence will provide an opening for some of the other top finishers from last year, including second-place Marc Belanger, third-place Sergio Almeralla, and fourth-place Peter Doucet.

Other skaters to watch include Shift Racing’s Jesse Pauley, Stephane Charron of Montreal, Morgan Williams, and two U.S. racers: Alex Fedak from Oklahoma and Brian Oswald from Virginia.

Several younger skaters may also be competitive, including Marc-Olivier Lemay, Christopher Fiola, and 13-year-old Juan Diego Zuluaga of Montreal. Zuluaga, originally from Colombia, surprised everyone last year by finishing fifth, just behind Doucet.

The racecourse is a 3-kilometer loop over smooth asphalt and cement at the PMG Technologies test track, 30 minutes north of Montreal.

Skaters in the full marathon will skate 14 laps for a total of 42 kilometers.

Forecasters are predicting a 10-40 percent chance of rain or showers on Saturday with temperatures in the mid to high 70s (F) and a light breeze from the southwest.

The start of the marathon is at 9 am (EDT). The Inline Planet will cover the race with a live blog starting at 8:30 am.

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