The Anna Millward Diary 2001

Currently ranked world number one in the World Cup and on UCI points, Anna Millward is in France with the Australian national team.

Tour de l'Aude

France, May 18-27, 2001

Stage 2 - May 20: Rieux Minervois - Rieux Minervois, 127 km

A big day in the tour today with the only super category climb of the whole tour coming with only 26.5kms of descending left in the stage. We were hoping Kym Shirley would have a good day in the climbs and crack the top 10 overall.

First of all we had a bit of fun and games with the sprint jersey. We found out that the first sprint was cancelled a few kilometres into the stage. With the second sprint, the four contenders were all keyed up and jostling for position at the '250 metres to go' sign. They were on the lookout for the flag when there was a tight right corner and one of the riders crashed. Alison Wright came out of the corner best and took off, still expecting to see the sprint line at any moment. She spent the next couple of kilometres off the front and we learned later that the sprint line was actually before the corner, just very badly marked.

From there, the Alfa Lum team took control of the race and nothing was allowed to get clear. They were riding for Edita Pucinskaite and she attacked once we began the first climb at the 80km mark. Only Lyne Bessette (Canada) was able to go with her and the two of them stayed together over the super category climb and to the end of the stage. Edita won the stage and that performance put her into the yellow jersey. The third rider in was Judith Arndt, nearly two minutes behind. The next nine riders all came in either by themselves or with only one other. Our best riders were Kym Shirley and Hayley Rutherford, in the first group of more than two people, 7 minutes 30 seconds behind the winner.

I joined the laughing bunch on the climb and was riding tempo into the finish with them when Katie Maciter lost control on a tight corner and crashed into Petra Rossner. Petra is fine but it looks like Katie may have done some damage to her back. She is spending the night in hospital for X-rays and scans so we'll know more tomorrow.

So the tour definitely exploded today and there are large time gaps between all the top 20 riders. Hopefully tomorrow will be a kinder day!