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Preview: Chrono Champenois

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12th September

The second late season Time Trial (and final warm-up for those preparing for the Worlds Time Trial later this month) is the Chrono Champenois, raced around the village of Bétheny in the Champagne reason of northern France. That comes at the end of a family weekend, including a race for 6-12 year olds on Saturday, and a family randonnée on Sunday morning on the race course, including "a surprise stop en route to enjoy a little verre de l'amitié (start them young, I guess), before the women’s and men’s races begin in the afternoon.


The course itself is a 33.4km long loop out into the local countryside and back, the same for both men and women, and according to the organisers is characterised by long open straight stretches and false flats where the wind could play a significant role. Here’s the minimalist course map the organisers provide, which strips away anything that isn’t directly necessary:

Parcours_medium

and the profile:

Profil_medium

Images via www.chrono-champenois.com

This race began back in 1989, and as is the case for almost any race in France, the name of Jeannie Longo recurs throughout its history ("just" the five wins between 1992 and 2005). Last year it was overshadowed by the Rund um die Nürnberger Altstadt, then the final round of the World Cup (that race is a far reduced thing this year, but still survives and German riders at least are out showing their support). There are 25 names on the start-list, including last year’s top three of Wendy Houvenagel (who must be wondering what she has to do to get them to spell her name right. Or even consistently wrong) Julia Shaw and Grace Verbeke, plus Sarah Storey from Horizon, who will hopefully give us her insider view at some point. But the top favourites must be those four of the top five at last week’s Trophy Davide Fardelli who have travelled here, namely Amber Neben in her new Chirio-Forno d’Asolo jersey, Vicki Whitelaw (although I have my suspicions that she might be just a little bit knackered after her week in pink at the Ardeche), Olga Zabelinskaya of Safi, and Australia’s Amber Halliday.

The organisers mention that they are expecting to see reports in the regional France 3 news on Sunday evening and Monday noon, so they should appear here shortly afterwards, presumably in the Champagne-Ardenne edition.