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Roc d'Azur

Szafraniec keeps the Roc Dames in Polish hands

31-year-old Pole Anna Szafraniec won the Roc Dames ahead of Russian Irina Kalentieva and Canadian Catharine Pendrel, while Sabrina Enaux missed the podium by one spot.

The Roc d'Azur Dames seems to have a soft spot for Poles. Anna Szafraniec followed in the footsteps of her fellow countrywomen Maja Włoszczowska (winner of the two previous editions) and Aleksandra Dawidowicz (2009 champion) to take the 44 km race on Saturday. Fourth in 2007 and sixth in 2012, this time round 31-year-old Szafraniec managed to beat Russia's Irina Kalentieva and Canada's Catharine Pendrel by 1’16’’.

Szafraniec took off with Austria's Elisabeth Osl (2008 Roc Dames champion) halfway through the race and later benefitted from her breakaway companion's puncture to seize her maiden win in the Roc Dames with a time of 2h 06’13’’. "I’m obviously over the moon", she confided. "It's a big surprise for me. It's awesome. The race was tough but I love to come here."

Canada's Pendrel, who was making her debut in Fréjus but is no stranger to top-flight success (winner of the World Cup general classification in 2010 and 2012, 2011 World Champion and ninth in the last Summer Olympics), also had a wide grin on her face. "I'd heard a lot about the Roc d'Azur but I wasn't really sure what to expect", she said. "As for the race, I wasn't very confident of my shape now that the season’s almost over. Things went better than expected. The atmosphere was wicked! I want to come back with my entire team so that they can also enjoy this."

34-year-old Sabrina Enaux posted her best performance so far in the Roc Dames, finishing fourth and best French rider. "I felt good from the beginning", explained the member of the 53rd Signal Regiment, stationed at Lunéville. "It was my first time on a 29-inch bicycle and it was perfect. I had a great time. Like always at the Roc d'Azur." It is also worth noting the Top 10 places of Fanny Bourdon (7th), Hélène Marcouryre (9th after finishing second in yesterday's Roc Marathon) and Marine Eon, 10th overall and 2nd in the Espoirs category behind Austria's Lisa Mitterbauer.

1. Anna Szafraniec (POL), 2 h 6’13’’
2. Irina Kalentieva (RUS), 2 h 07’29’’
3. Catharine Pendrel (CAN), 2 h 07’30’’
4. Sabrina Enaux (FRA), 2 h 11’10’’
5. Sarah Koba (SWI), 2 h 13’06’’

8. Lisa Mitterbauer (AUT), 2 h 16’24’’ (1st Espoirs)


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