The AIS Women's Team Diary 2004
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.
Stages 1-2: Lunch, followed by a hors categorie climb
By Olivia Gollan
It is 10.30am on the morning of day three and we are patiently waiting for
the 11am race lunch which will be followed by the first hors categorie
climb of the tour! Today's stage is going to be a rude awakening for me after
a two week holiday in Australia, but with the last two kilometres of this climb
at seven percent, it might be the same for everyone!
Stage 1 - May 14: Gruissan - Gruissan, 95km
Stage one on Friday was a 95km road race from Gruissan to Gruissan. I would
estimate that the winds were around the 100km/hr mark but, that could be a slight
exaggeration! Our team of Lorian Graham, Louise Yaxley, Natalie Bates, Sara
Carrigan, Margaret Hemsley and myself were fairly confident that the bunch would
finish together and were expecting Petra Rossner and her Nurnberger Team would
be keen for the victory to steal the jersey. The crosswinds made the race eventful;
down an unexpected descent, Hanka Kupfernagal did what she does best and took
a small group away at about the 50km mark. Including Trixi Worrack (Nurnberger)
and Lyne Bessette (Canada), it looked pretty dangerous. Sara and I both attempted
to bridge across but were shut down by Judith Arndt. However, with several teams
not represented it eventually came back together.
The crosswinds played havoc with the bunch and there wasn't much reprieve from
the wind anywhere but several teams tried to make the last 10 kilometres aggressive.
With 5km to go, Judith Arndt and team-mates Tina Liebig and Trixi Worrack tried
to keep the pace high for Petra but the headwind was incredible and it felt
like we were going nowhere despite their efforts. Under the 1km to go banner
came the first crash and then 500m later another, leaving seven riders to sprint
for the finish. Lorian was trying to help me into a good spot when Petra crashed
in front of me. Luckily I avoided the tarmac and Lorian managed to hold onto
the front group and finish seventh.
But it was the bulldog Alison Wright (Nobili Guerciotti) who held them all
off and took the stage! Awesome result and a great job to keep herself out of
trouble and take the yellow jersey.
Sara Carrigan on the way to a podium
Photo ©: Olivia Gollan
Stage 2 - May 15: Port La Nouvelle - Port La Nouvelle ITT, 5.7km
Strangely enough, day two saw us looking at a 6km prologue. After the carnage
of the final kilometre on Friday, everyone in the front group started on the
same time for the prologue, barring the stage placers with time bonuses. It
was a fairly straightforward course with about 3km of headwind to start and
then a dash into the finish with the tailwind. Deidre Demet-Barry whipped us
all with an awesome 7'22. She was followed closely by her team-mate, Kristin
Armstrong who clocked 7'23. Carrigan claimed third with an awesome ride and
all the big hitters were close on her heels.
So Demet carries the yellow into Stage 3 and her team-mate lies in second place.
Great result for the T-Mobile squad. It will be interesting to see how they
defend over the big climb today, especially since there is still 80km to go
after the top...
Images by Olivia Gollan