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Speedy Gilmore: The Rochelle Gilmore Journal 2004

Rochelle Gilmore - super sprinter and scratch race silver medallist at the 2002 world track championships - is a woman full of ambition. After proving her prowess on the track, she's aiming to forge a successful career on the road, and in 2004, she'll riding for Denmark-based Team S.A.T.S. Follow Rochelle as she attempts to rise to the top of the tree in 2004.


Primed for the Primavera Rosa

March 14, 2004

Last Sunday, I began the European racing season with the Trofeo Citta di Rosignano. I'm now looking forward to the Primavera Rosa this Sunday, which is the second round of the women's World Cup on the road.

Departing Denmark at 8pm on Friday night and bound for Italy, the Team SATS girls only traveled three hours by ferry before deciding to call it a night at the first available hotel in Puttgarden, Germany. Travelling with me were my team-mates Manon Jutras, Emma James, and Meredith Miller.

Leaving Puttgarden at 7am the next morning, the girls drove continuously until reaching the race hotel in Italy at 12:30 Saturday night. Team-mate and current world champion Susanne Ljungskog travelled with her partner, Claus, on the same day - directly from her home base in Sweden. Susanne, who won the Trofeo di Citta di Rosignano ahead of Nicole Cooke and Rochelle last year, was just planning to use the race as training and preparation for the Primavera Rosa.

The 109km Trofeo di Citta di Rosignano started as a casual affair with most riders just chatting and catching up with each other after a six-month break from European racing. Meredith Miller of Team SATS was one of the first to make a strong attack to get the race moving, causing a flurry of attacks. It was only 50 minutes into the race when a strong breakaway group of six riders formed. Among the break was Manon Jutras (Team SATS), Australian Natalie Bates (AIS - Australian Team) and Frenchwoman Catherine Marsal (Fanini - M&H Carrelli Elevatori).

The breakaway of riders worked really hard together to the bottom of the first climb. On the first main climb of the day, another rider from the break joined Marsal in dropping back to the bunch, while the remaining four continued to push it over the climb.

The main group behind had now split into two groups over the hilly terrain. The time gap to the breakaway up front was now dropping, and the break eventually got caught with about 30 kilometres to go.

The front group then contested the sprint for first with in-form Australian Oenone Wood (AIS - Australian Team) taking the victory from German Regina Schleicher (Safi - Pasta Zara-Manhattan) and Edita Pucinskaite (Fanini - M&H Carrelli Elevatori) in third.

Susanne Ljungskog finished in the front group, alongside SATS team-mates American Meredith Miller, Manon Jutras and Sara Symington, while Emma James and myself finished in the large second group.

I wasn't on such a good day today, but will plan to work on my climbing and position in the next few weeks. While climbing, I was experiencing some niggling lower back problems from the change of position on my new bike, but bike sponsor Pinarello will now make a custom size frame (slightly smaller) that will be perfect for me and solve the problem.

The Primavera Rosa in Italy will be the second round of the Women's World Cup on the road. The 121 kilometre race will start in Varazze, running down the Ligurian coastline with the two climbs of the Cipressa and the Poggio in last 20 kilometres before finishing on San Remo's Via Roma. Last year, I finished third here, so I'm looking to at least repeat my podium performance.