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Photo ©: Sirotti

Photo: © Rob Karman

The Anna Millward Diary

Australian Anna Millward (Wilson until her marriage in 2000) is one of the best women's cyclists in the world, and was ranked number 1 for the first part of 2000. She has won races everywhere, from time trials in France, World Cup races in Switzerland to stage races in the USA, and was the first cyclist ever to break the Hour Record under the "new" UCI rules. Anna possesses an incredible sprint and this combined with her power and determination makes her a formidable cyclist on any terrain. She is also one of the friendliest and most optimistic people you could ever meet.

Saturn vs Rona at the Gila

Tour of the Gila, New Mexico, May 1-5, 2002

Stage 1 & 2

Well here I am, finally back in the USA and back racing. About six weeks ago I found out what has been wrong with me all this time. An MRI scan revealed a torn tendon of the gluteus medius (one of the bum muscles!), so I have been doing exercises to strengthen that muscle back up and while it will be a little bit longer before I am 100 percent, I feel so much better than I have in months and ready to race.

I'm in Silver City, New Mexico for a five day race at altitude. I had a week at altitude before the race began so I'm feeling okay with the thin air and loving being back in the bike racing scene.

Yesterday the tour started with a 26km time trial. Just like last year, Genevieve Jeanson (Rona) demolished the field, finishing in a time of 38 mins, 26seconds. In second place was my team-mate Kim Bruckner in a time of 39 mins, 24seconds and I finished third in 40 mins 12 seconds. Jeannie Longo and Katrina Berger rounded out the top five.

Today we raced 115km, finishing with an 8km climb. The Rona team did an excellent job of controlling things today. We did our best to challenge them with Ina Teutenberg (Saturn) creating the first breakaway at around the 30km mark with Stacey Peeters. Kristy Scrymgeour (Saturn) bridged across about 10km later and since that worked so successfully I tried to get across and then Jessica Phillips (Saturn) also tried. But Rona lifted the pace with our attempts and the breakaway was brought back. Suzanne Sonye (Saturn) then tried her luck and once again Kristy Scrymgeour (Saturn) joined her to try and extend the gap. Rona weren't letting anything get out of sight though. Jessica Phillips and Ina Teutenberg had another go at a breakaway leading in to the final climb but this time Rona was very serious about bringing everything back together to launch their star at the base of the climb.

Even before the climb proper began, Genevieve Jeanson (Rona) attacked and blew everyone off her wheel. Kimberly Bruckner and I found ourselves alone in the chase and we worked together as hard as we could to try and reel Genevieve back in. A couple of miles into the climb, Kimberly proved too strong for me and she continued the pursuit of Genevieve by herself. I continued on as best I could.

Genevieve held on to win by over two minutes from Kimberly, while Jeannie Longo pipped me for third place after catching me with a couple of hundred metres left to climb.

Photo: © Rob Karman

Genevieve has certainly stamped her authority on this race and we will have a hard time challenging her for the win here. But, never say die...