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The AIS Women's Team Diary 2004

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On the podium at Milan San Remo
Photo: © AIS

Welcome to one of our more unusual diaries, with entries from the various members of the Australian Institute of Sport's Women's team as they conduct their European campaign.

In 2003 the AIS team was the top women's squad in the world and has started 2004 with a bang as pocket rocket sprinter Oenone Wood leads the World Cup after two rounds. Follow Wood and team-mates such as Olivia Gollan and Sara Carrigan in their diary, only on Cyclingnews.

Souvenir Magali Pache, May 2, 2004

Destroyed in Switzerland

By Sara Carrigan

The view from the team hotel
Photo ©: Lorian Graham
The AIS team car
Photo ©: Lorian Graham
Flowers and scenery
Photo ©: Lorian Graham
Big crowds at the start
Photo ©: Lorian Graham
The Olympic stadium
Photo ©: Lorian Graham

The Magali Pache Memorial Time Trial is held in memory of the late Magali Pache who was tragically killed September 3, 2000 after being hit by a team car, post-race in France, while riding back to her hotel. Magali was 22 and was a Swiss National Champion.

Today was the third year the race was held in her honour and this year, it was run in conjunction with the final stage of the men's Tour de Romandie. A field of 15 women were invited to race the 20.4km TT in the Swiss city, Lausanne, and six of these riders were Australian including Kathy Watt, Hayley Rutherford, Oenone Wood, Margaret Hemsley, Louise Yaxley and me. This race is used as selection for the Olympic Time Trial in Athens and yesterday (Saturday), Louise Yaxley, Oenone Wood and I departed Novellara at 7am for a five-hour drive to Switzerland. It was a beautiful drive through the Swiss mountains that were still partly covered with snow and once we arrived, we rugged up for our 'pre-race day' training ride with some motor pacing.

The course was one big 20km circuit in and around Lausanne with the start/finish line outside the Olympic Stadium. The course was challenging with many corners, descents and sharp uphills. The first 10km was mainly downhill, followed by 5km of flat along the lake and then 5k of steep, nasty uphills, twisting up through paved shopping malls to the stadium for the finish. Some of these steep sections were at 17 percent gradient with the final kilometre averaging 10 percent, ensuring total exhaustion! It was certainly an interesting course and the crowds were amazing.

We were blessed with absolutely beautiful weather with the first rider rolling down the ramp at 12:55. There were one-minute intervals and a good pacing strategy was the order of the day. The final 5km was crucial and was where the race was going to be won or lost so it was important not to have spent too much early on, yet to also not lose too much time. I felt fast for the first part of the race with speeds of up to 85km/hr racing down the descent. After a controlled pace along the flat, I approached the bottom of the climbs with 5km to go and punched hard over these last few steep sections to cross the line, destroyed!

I was bitterly disappointed to find out I had only managed fourth place. However, Oenone had a blinder to win by 31 seconds over Lyne Bessette, and has now scheduled a mid-year break with a week off the bike. Margaret Hemsley also had a strong ride to finish third and Louise did well with her seventh placing behind Kathy Watt. Liv will be returning from Oz next week to join us to compete in the Tour de l'Aude, which begins the 14th of May.

There are still two Olympic selection races remaining for the time trial with the next being one of the TT stages in Tour de l'Aude.

So until then,