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Photo: © Shane Goss

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.


Vuelta Castilla y Leon, Stage 1 - March 24: Valladolid-Valladolid, 78.5 km

Feeling good but missing chances

Day one of the tour started late today at 4.25pm in very cold conditions (9 degrees). The race was short with two intermediate sprints and two category three (not so tough) mountain climbs.

We started today's race with a very strong team including the current World Champion Susanne Ljunskog and also Anita Valen- another world class sprinter!

In our team meeting we had decided that I would attempt the first Intermediate sprint, try to get into the jersey while Anita would save herself for the final sprint. As it happened, I was in the perfect position coming into the first intermediate sprint at 24.4km, I was sitting in about fifth position when I heard over the race radio, "1km to go." I am sure the sprint arrived only 500m later, maybe I fell asleep, I am not sure but at the last minute I saw the MV sign ('metas volantes' - the line for the sprint), and I was still just cruising on fifth wheel. I missed the sprint, and boy was I frustrated with myself! At that stage of the race I knew that I had good legs and I was feeling comfortable, so it was a missed opportunity!

The race stayed together over the top of the first climb but it was after the decent when we hit the flat road into a head-wind that it strung right out and a strong group of 16 riders formed. In the break we were represented by two of our strongest and fastest riders, Susanne and Anita. Other riders in the break were Olivia Gollan and Oenone Wood (AIS), Kate Bates (Ton Van Bemmelen), Hanka Kupfernagel (Vlaanderen), Stacey Peters (T-Mobile), Tanja Hennes (Team Next 125) and Katia Longhin (Fanini). The group worked really hard for that first 20km to ensure a handy gap which went out to 1min 30 sec before the main group started to pull them back slowly.

The break continued to hold the gap the second time over the climb, but the main group really picked up the pace during the last 25km to pull back the break only 5km from the finish. Just before the break was caught Anita punctured (along with one other rider in the break) - at a very hectic time. Anita used a lot of energy in the final kilometres chasing back to the group. With 5kms to go she was back in the main group, feeling comfortable and ready for the sprint.

I was positioned well leading into the last kilometres of the race. I was sitting about fourth wheel with 1km to when I heard a tangle of bikes go down behind me. In this crash was Susanne who had also been positioned very well and ready for a great sprint. The tangle caused a small break between the front riders and those caught up behind - unfortunately Anita was caught in the tangle (not coming down) but that was the end of her chance of nailing the sprint for us.

It was left up to me, but unfortunately the best I could do for the team today was third :-( I was beaten by two Safi Pasta Zara (my team from 2003) riders, Regina Schleicher and Giorgia Bronzini.

It's a start, the main thing is I felt fantastic during the race today - so things are looking up!

My race data from the Polar 720i:

Distance: 86.0km
Time: 2hr 10 min
Average Heart Rate: 176bpm
Max Heart Rate: 209bpm
Average Speed: 38.6
Max Speed: 77.6
Average Cadence: 88rpm
Max Cadence: 118