Race report: Bernard takes first win of season for Stevens women

This past weekend the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery women’s team took part in the Ste-Martine GP, which was our first Quebec race of the season. It was my first time wearing the new team kit and I can say I felt quite invincible in hot pink!

Audrey Bernard, Adriane Provost and Catherine Dessureault at the GP Ste-Martine.

Audrey Bernard, Adriane Provost and Catherine Dessureault at the GP Ste-Martine.

As we warmed up, we talked a little bit about what would be our strategy for the race. There was absolutely no wind, and with a flat course like this one we could only see this race ending in a field sprint. I paid attention to the final kilometre of the race and I told the girls where I wanted the lead out to start and where I wanted to start my sprint.  We were ready to win the race! We decided Adriane Provost and Catherine Dessureault would test the field in the first lap and attack as often as they could, while I would just hang out in the peloton and try to recover from the 14 hours of driving I did the day before.

It turned out my legs were feeling great and I really wanted to be part of the action. It was a very fast race and no one was able to get a gap on the peloton for more than a kilometre, especially because the Stevens girls were always at the front and jumping on every wheel they saw attacking! Adriane and Catherine managed to get into some breakaways that had potential, but the “no wind factor” made it very hard, almost impossible, for any break to stay off the front. At the beginning of the fourth lap, with two to go, I told the girls I would take the lead and make sure no one escaped while they could relax in the peloton and get ready for the last lap.

Audrey Bernard stands atop the podium at the GP Ste-Martine.

Audrey Bernard stands atop the podium at the GP Ste-Martine.

It worked out well and we went into the last lap with a perfect plan. Catherine stayed at the front making sure the tempo was high and that no breakaways could start without her being part of it, while I stayed near Adriane and got ready for the sprint. During the last three kilometres, Catherine stayed at the front and set a very high tempo that discouraged most of the other teams from trying something. With one kilometre to go Adriane and I were in perfect position for the sprint.

Let’s just say the lead out was perfect and my sprint was only a formality to win the race!

So this is how the Stevens Racing women’s team won our first race of the season! I can feel that there are many more podiums to come for the team 🙂

— Audrey Bernard

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