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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.

First win of the season!

Saturn-Timex Women's Classic, Danbury, Connecticut, May 19, 2002

Yesterday I raced 110km in the Saturn-Timex women's classic. My Saturn team had five riders including me and we thought our main adversaries would be the USA National squad which had a full team of six. Also present on the start line was Clara Hughes, an ex-Saturn team-mate of mine and fresh from winning a bronze medal at the winter Olympics for speed skating.

The race started out fast and straight up a climb with the first mountain sprint at the 3km mark. Not a very pleasant way to set out! Kristin Armstrong set a fierce pace early and went for all the mountain points and sprints along the way. I think she spent almost the whole of the first 30km on the front of the peloton! Along the way, she managed to shatter the group into four pieces with only 15 riders in the front after the first few climbs. However, the second group chased persistently and rejoined us around the 30km mark. About this time Kristin Armstrong punctured.

With five Saturn riders in the lead group we set about attacking. Suzanne Sonye and Kim Davidge started the action and Jessica Phillips was part of a handy little breakaway also containing Katrina Berger (USA National). Everything kept on coming back together however, until the 40km mark. At that point I attacked and was chased by Amber Neben (USA National). We worked hard together and a few miles later we were joined by Clara Hughes (Quebec). Apparently she had left the group on a technical little downhill section and soloed across to us. She was a great person to have in the breakaway as she was willing to work hard and extend our lead.

Our lead gradually grew to over two minutes with 20km to go. Kim Bruckner (Saturn) kept trying to attack on the climbs and ride across to us to give Saturn a numerical advantage in the break but she was well marked by the USA National team. With 20km to go we hit the last tough climb of the course, Florida Hills. Amber attacked the bottom of the climb and I could see Clara was having some trouble following her. I felt pretty good though and so countered Amber's move and was delighted to see that she was in trouble trying to follow me. I gave it everything I had to the top and got there about 10 seconds in front of Amber with Clara a little further back.

The three of us then set about time-trialing into the finish, chasing each other like mad. There was a lot of downhill until we reached the finishing circuits and then we had to complete five 2km laps to finish the race. I was stressing that Amber would catch me on the circuits and pushed myself to the limit to stay away and claim my first victory for 2002!! What a great feeling it was!

Amber and Clara finished in second and third respectively and Tanya Duff-Miller won the bunch sprint for fourth place from Laura van Guilder.

I next race in the Montreal World Cup on June 1st.

Photo: © Rob Karman