Team High Road will be pulling no punches in their defence of Judith Arndt's World Cup lead in the GP Montreal, the next round of the series, on Saturday. "We're expecting a very tough, classy race because that's what GP Montreal is all about," team boss Petra Rossner commented. "If you look back at the top 15 of all the GP Montreals, you'll see there are no fluky results in there, no accidents. All of the top riders in Montreal are there for a reason - because they're big hitters."
For Rossner the race route is "very straightforward, but no less tough for being so. Each lap has got a third uphill [up the infamous Mont Royal], a third downhill and a third flat.
"Attacks can go anywhere and everywhere, the weather can be incredibly variable - from rain to warm sunshine - and it's never clear what's going to happen. That's the beauty of Montreal, it's anything but predictable."
With some riders like Arndt and Teutenberg fresh from the Tour de L'Aude and others like Oenone Wood just back from a longish spell without races, Rossner argues they have "a squad which can cover all sorts of scenarios. There's no one favourite within our team for the race though, even though Judith is World Cup leader."
Rossner was adamant they would not change their approach to the race and be more conservative just because Arndt was in the lead. High Road, she insisted, would play as aggressive a game as ever.
"We won't be changing our strategy to defend the jersey. Rather we'll be looking to win this race, and win it well." Nor does she feel that riding the Tour de L'Aude could have blunted some of the High Road riders form. "I did l'Aude 20 times in my career, and sometimes it was harder, sometimes it was easier. You can't just automatically say that because you've done a long stage race you're going to be riding your next race tired"
"It would be better if this race had not been on the Saturday after L'Aude so the riders had more time to recover but that's just the way it is."
Last year Arndt finished third in Montreal, and the German World Cup Leader says the Canadian round of the World Cup is "a race I really like ." "I can understand that." adds Rossner. "There are always huge crowds, a great atmosphere, people out to spend the day as a family following the bike race. This is a real high point of our season."
High Road for GP Montreal: Kim Anderson (USA), Judith Arndt (Ger); Chantal Beltman (Hol); Kate Bates (Aus); Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger); Oenone Wood (Aus).