Racing News: Rennes World Inline Cup
Di Eugenio, Presti Win in Rainy Rennes
Italians dominate in fourth stage of World Inline Cup
By Robert "Just the Factoids" Burnson
(posted Thursday, May 4, 2006)
Italians proved dominant in today's Rennes World Inline Cup, winning the top two spots in both the men's and women's races.
World Cup newcomer Simona Di Eugenio won the women's race while top-ranked Massimiliano Presti proved himself once again to be master of the field sprint.
Di Eugenio of the Luigino MM70 team was one of a group of five skaters who broke away from the women's pack midway through the race in downtown Rennes.
Skating hard, the group built a lead of four minutes. As it approached the finish line, after 15 laps around the road course, Luigino's Laura Lombardo lead out the sprint for Di Eugenio, the team's top sprinter.
Di Eugenio followed closely in Lombardo's draft and then shot ahead for the win. It was the first World Cup win for the 22-year-old Italian.
Finishing in second was another World Cup newcomer, Italian Giovanna Turchiarelli of the Alessi Powerslide team.
Finishing third was Nicole Begg of the Salomon Smarkskate team. It was the first top-three finish this year for the powerful New Zealander.
Begg, 19, and her teammate Natalie Barbotin had led many of the attacks during the 45.5 kilometer (28.3 mile) race.
Two minutes after the start of the men's race, rain started to fall, soaking not only the skaters, but the estimated 20,000 spectators who lined the racecourse.
Skating on slippery pavement, the racers had a hard time picking up the speed needed for successful breakaways, said race director Christophe Audiore. "There were lots of attacks, but no breakaways."
That left the stage open for MMCmicro Salomon's leader, Max Presti, who has an uncanny ability to find his way to the front in a field sprint.
At the end of 18 rainy laps (52.2 kilometers), the men arrived together at the finish line in a large pack.
Rollerblade's Jorge Botero was the first to start sprinting. But before he could reach the finish line, he was caught by Presti and others.
Presti got his skate over the finish line first for the win. It was his second gold medal finish of the 2006 World Cup. (He won the first stage: April 9th in Seoul.)
Presti's win will keep him and his team well ahead in the individual and team World Cup rankings.
Finishing second today was Presti's teammate Pier Davide Romani. It was Romani's first top-three finish of the year.
Finishing third was Yann Guyander of the new Timmerman Powerslide World Team. It was the first-ever top-three finish for a Timmerman skater.
Guyander is having a strong year so far. Aside from today's third-place finish, the 22-year-old Frenchman won the 3 Pistes race series three weeks ago in France.
The World Cup now moves back to Switzerland for a sub-class Biel Swiss Inline Cup next Saturday.
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