By Kirsten Robbins
The Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec is ready to host round seven of the Women's World Cup series, the 11th annual Montreal World Cup, on Saturday, May 31. The event will showcase 23 international teams, with riders from each team battling to score UCI points during their final chance before August's Olympic Games in Beijing, China but one notable absence is 2007 UCI Women's World Cup winner Marianne Vos (DSB Bank).
At noon the world-class field will start 11 laps of a 10 kilometre circuit, equalling a 110 kilometre race of attrition. The event will start and finish on the Park Avenue, at the base of the event's significant two kilometre climb to the top of Mont Royal.
Following the decisive climb riders will descend through the technical twists and turns of Montreal's city streets and around Jeanne-Mance Park before their arrival back to Park Avenue. Once on Park Avenue the lap is still not over with the riders required to pass through a flat, fast section of the course before taking a hairpin turn which is followed by a 400 metre stretch to the finish line.
One notable rider from the 23 international squads is defending race winner Fabiana Luperini. The Italian won last year's event from a two-woman break away that included the current United States of America National Champion Mara Abbott (High Road). The 2007 edition saw a break-out performance by the young Abbott, who was riding for the domestic Webcor Builders squad at the time.
Former world champion Judith Arndt (High Road) will be a tough contender to beat, having won the event in 2006. The German is leading Vos, who has been competing in South America preparing for the Olympic Games, by just 15 points in the World Cup standings.