Whilst many of the sprinters will be in Padova this weekend those with a bit of climbing in their legs will be traveling to Cholet for Cholet Pays de Loire Dames on 17th March: 4 laps of the 29km circuit featuring 2 significant climbs. The race is of additional importance to French riders as it represents to the first of 5 races that form the Coupe de France competition.
Whilst the race has been in existence for a number of years, it has only been on the UCI Elite Calendar since 2011. As such the peloton and therefore, podium have been dominated by French talent. Last year’s winner, Audrey Cordon won from a solo escape on the final lap on a damp day in Cholet.
|2004||Élodie Touffet||Cathy Moncassin-Prime||Magali Finot-Laivier|
|2005||Alexandra Le Henaff||Élodie Touffet||Magali Le Floc’h|
|2006||Fanny Riberot||Aude Pollet||Pascale Jeuland|
|2007||Marina Jaunatre||Laurence Leboucher||Kata-Lina Normak|
|2008||Magali Mocquery||Magali Le Floc’h||Marina Jaunatre|
|2009||Florence Girardet||Megan Guarnier||Christine Majerus|
|2010||Christel Ferrier Bruneau||Christine Majerus||Mélanie Bravard|
|2011||Emma Johansson||Christel Ferrier Bruneau||Sara Mustonen|
|2012||Audrey Cordon||Pascale Jeuland||Emilie Moberg|
There’s a mix of UCI, national, regional, clubs and mixed teams competing. The full Provisional social start list can be found here.
Starting in the centre of Cholet the parcours consists of four 29km clockwise laps through the villages to the south and west of Cholet.
The first significant obstacle on the route being the climb in La Tessoualle after a steady start to the climb the gradient ramps up steeply. Its peak the gradient is in double digit percentages. Perhaps not enough to separate the favourites at the first time of asking but after four laps the climb should really start to take it’s toll.
The top of the climb in La Tessoualle, marks the first of two “Climbers point” for the climbing competition on the final 3 laps of the race.
The race continues to ascend, albeit at a more gradual rate to the Le Puy- Saint Bonnet for the first of two Sprint points which will determine the winners of the sprint competition over the final 3 laps.
The race then heads north-west to Saint Christophe which is home to the second sprint point on the circuit.
Before heading to the second significant climb through the narrow streets of Le Seguiniere which makes the final climbing point on the course.