Today is the last round of the Capdet-Raynal Coupe de France Dames 2011, the 5th Classic Féminine Vienne / Poitou-Charentes at Loudon in the west of France. And it may just be a national race, but the French yet again show that they know how to make the best of a bike race going through town. The main race kicks off at 13:10 with the ceremonial rollout from Place Porte St Nicolas in the centre of town, then heads out eastwards on a 71km loop. Then at 13:25, just after they have gone, the juniors roll up to that same start line for a 42km race consisting of seven laps of a 6km circuit. That is scheduled to finish at around 14:40 which gives just enough time for the podium ceremonies etc. before the main race returns to the centre of town for four laps of a 12km finishing circuit, complete with a long and slightly uphill drag along boulevard du 11 Novembre 1918 (link goes to Google Streetview) to the line.
With the Giro del Trentino still on and the RaboSter Zeeuwsche Eilanden having just finished, this race is as close to an all-French one as you’ll get. The only non-French name I recognise on the start list is Luxembourger Christine Majerus, current leader in the Coupe de France Dames, and the only non-French team, Lointek, is represented by just its two Frenchwomen Fanny Riberot and Emilie Blanquefort (download that startlist from Gwena ).
The current top five in the Coupe de France are:
1 MAJERUS Christine GSD - TEAM GSD GESTION 148 points
2 PITEL Edwige FUT - VIENNE FUTUROSCOPE 126
3 LESUEUR Mélodie ESGL - ES GERVAIS LILAS ESP 123
4 MERLOT Emmanuelle FUT - VIENNE FUTUROSCOPE 121
5 ROUSSE Marion FUT - VIENNE FUTUROSCOPE ESP 113
and barrring a complete disaster Majerus should be safe since even if Edwige Pitel wins today she just needs a top ten finish to get enough points. How do those standings compare to VDS? That’s an interesting exercise for anyone who’s got nothing better to do right now.