By Jean-François Quénet
Amber Neben usually doesn't ride her bike in October but her new status of a world champion for time trial made her change her plans as she received an invitation for taking part in the Chrono des Nations on October 19. Neben will travel from Los Angeles to Les Herbiers in the West of France to honour her rainbow jersey on Sunday.
"I heard about the prestige of this race and I'm delighted to discover it," she said. The surprise winner of the world title in Varese, Italy, last month might not have an easy time competing on the 20.870km course that saw the win of Suzanne Ljunskog last year. The Swedish rider, who is Neben's team-mate at Flexpoint, will be back in Vendée to defend her crown.
The Chrono des Nations will also be Jeannie Longo's last race prior to celebrating her 50th birthday on October 31. Alongside the world champion, the defending champion and the French champion, the international field of participants will consist of Germany's Charlotte Becker (Equipe Nürnberger) who finished 9th in Varese, Denmark's Trine Schmidt (also from Flexpoint), Belgium's Kelly Druyts (Topsport-Vlaanderen) and Ludivine Henrion (AA Drink) who is the recent winner of the GP de France, and the reigning Australian champion Bridie O'Donnell who finished runner-up in Les Herbiers last year.
In the junior category, French champion for time trial Mélodie Lesueur will be opposed to the road race world champion Jolien D'Hoore from Belgium.