There is nothing sweeter than taking home your first win of the season in front of your hometown crowd. Julien Absalon rode like a man possessed today. Call it hometown advantage if you like, but it was a brilliant ride, a win for France as much as it was for Julien Absalon. The course that was running fast and dusty yesterday got a good soaking from some hefty thunderstorms last night, and that changed the playing field drastically. There were plenty of spills in both men's and women's races, and at the end of the day, La Bresse had an impressive bunch of casualties of war to its name. Flats were coming hot and heavy, and if you weren't out front from the start and didn't have a bit of luck, your chances of moving up the field were diminished. Nino Schurter suffered multiple flats, putting him in the position of fighting his way through the field, something we haven't seen him have to do this season.
Jolanda Neff came out hard and never looked back. Whatever infection was holding her back last week was only a memory today. The question of whether or not she would be fit and ready was quickly answered. Annika Langvad didn't have the best of luck today, but retained the leader's jersey. Question is: with Jolanda back in the game, how long can she keep it? Jenny Rissveds had a stellar performance last week, but wasn't at full capacity today. An off into the safety netting only hurt her situation more. Catharine Pendrel and Emily Batty had amazing rides to second and third respectively.
With the Olympics drawing near, the chess board is really starting to take shape. Now we have a bit of a waiting game to see what happens next.