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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.


Lost in Belgium

Tour of Flanders

The first thing I learnt today about the Tour of Flanders was that you should not roll through neutral at the back of the peloton chatting to your friends! Most of our races start rather casually, especially when the first 30km is on wide-open, fast, flat roads. I should have known from experience that when Leontien Van Morsel lines up for a race, the pace will be high from the start. Van Morsel always, no fail, rides on the front of the bunch with her teammates holding an extremely high pace, often putting the rest of the field in the gutter from the start. The first 5-10km was strung right out and I used so much unnecessary energy trying to move up to the front in the wind!

While Farm Frites continued to drive it on the front for the first 30km other riders desperately tried to better their positions in the bunch by jumping onto the footpaths and flying up the sides until the footpath would suddenly end. Then they would bunny hop back into the edge of the peloton where no space existed, causing tremendous havoc in the bunch. On a few occasions this cheeky trick caused crashes and gaps in the bunch.

My team mate Anita Valen had a very hard fall just before the first climb.She was taken by ambulance immediately to the nearest hospital but fortunately no bones were broken. Anita was hoping to do well today expressing in our team meeting that the course would really suit her.

At 29km we hit the 1.8km Kruisberg, the first and longest climb of the day. Surprisingly this climb was not raced too hard and the bunch cruised over together before it became a race of attrition. Over the next 25km the weaker riders started dribbling off the back. Today, one of those riders was me. I got dropped on climb number 4, the Steenberg. At the top of this climb I somehow managed to miss a turn. I can't believe there were no officials, riders or fans around! I was in the middle of no-man's land! I only went about 400m before realising there were no cars or riders for as far as I could see. They could not have got out of sight that quickly! I returned to the corner where I had missed the right hand turn and I made a left, that was the end of my race! I soft-pedaled alone for about 10km before a large bunch caught me. In this bunch were plenty of Aussies and SATS team mates!

Up ahead the real race started at about the 56km mark where there was a 2km section of cobbles, the cobbles split the bunch to bits as riders bounced all over the place.

Leontien Van Morsal drove the race up the 5th climb, the Leberg, creating a lead group of about 10 riders containing Australian Alison Wright, Mirjam Melchers and Zoulfia Zabirova. The string of riders managed to pull back the group down the descent and along the next stretch of flat road. Leontien once again drove the bunch up the next few hills without any challengers making attacks. The riders made a mad rush for position leading into the second last, and most famous climb of the race, the Muur-Kapelmuur.

Zabirova hit the front of the bunch at the bottom of the Muur when the cobbles started. From there she repeated her Primavera performance when she rode away by herself gaining 10 seconds by the top of the climb, her break went out to a maximum of 15 sec. A group of three riders, Trixi Worack, Leontien van Morsel and Mirjam Melchers chased hard to eventually finish 6 seconds behind Zoulfia Zabirova.

About a minute back was the bunch sprint which was won by Olga Slyusareva with our own little Aussie Alison Wright closely behind.

Polar Heart Rate Race Data

Distance: 97.7km
Time: 2hr 42 min
Average Heart Rate: 183bpm
Max Heart Rate: 204bpm
Average Speed: 36.1km/h
Max Speed: 69.4km/h
Average Cadence: 82rpm
Max Cadence: 119