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The Anna Millward Diary
Australian Anna Millward (Wilson until her marriage in 2000) is one of the best women's cyclists in the world, and was ranked number 1 for the first part of 2000. She has won races everywhere, from time trials in France, World Cup races in Switzerland to stage races in the USA, and was the first cyclist ever to break the Hour Record under the "new" UCI rules. Anna possesses an incredible sprint and this combined with her power and determination makes her a formidable cyclist on any terrain. She is also one of the friendliest and most optimistic people you could ever meet.
In the lead in Idaho
HP Women's Challenge,
Stage 1 - June 15: Boise to Idaho City, 111 km
We are now four days into the Hewlett Packard tour in Idaho and finally I can get on line. Things couldn't have gone better for us in the first four stages. In stage one we raced 110km from Boise to Idaho City. It was disgustingly hot and everyone suffered. There was one climb in the course and the bunch split into a few pieces over there with Genevieve Jeanson (Rona) winning the sprint for the top and so earning the mountain climbers jersey for day one. With 40km left from the top of the climb to the finish, everyone rejoined the main field. The race then erupted with lots of aggression coming from the Lithuanian team in particular but everyone played their part and there were many small groups which formed off the front only to be consumed by the bunch again a few kms later. With 4km to go, Catherine Marsal (Saturn) broke away solo and for a while she was looking very good for the stage win. But she was also reeled in with about a kilometer left to race and then we worked to set Petra Rossner (Saturn) up for the sprint. She didn't disappoint us, easily taking the victory over Diana Ziluite and Jolanta Polikevicuite (both Lithuania). So Petra was in the leader's jersey going into the second stage.
Stage 2 - June 16: Lowman to Stanley, 93.6 km
On day two, we raced 93km from Lowman to Stanley, with the long 17km climb up to Banner Creek about half way through the stage. The bunch stayed together to the base of the climb and then Manon Jutras (Rona) set a hard pace from the bottom of the climb. In the last four or five kilometres of the climb there were some attacks from the stronger climbers, with Rasa Polikevicuite (Lithuania) starting the aggression. A group of 12 climbers split off the front containing all the favourites for the tour. I ended up in the second group and got to the top 45 seconds behind the leaders. My group contained four riders from the T-Mobile team and a few riders from Sponsor Service. They did most of the work to bring us back to the front group, swelling the numbers to around 35 riders. We had four Saturn riders in the group - Judith Arndt, Kimberley Bruckner, Petra Rossner and myself.
After several attacks a group of eight got off the front when Judith Arndt allowed a gap to grow in front of her. Kimberley Bruckner and I (both Saturn) were both in the front group and Judith thought that was a good move for the team. With us were Genevieve Jeanson (Rona), Lyne Bessette (Canada), Valentina Polkanova (Itera), Amber Neben (T-Mobile), Rasa Polikevicuite (Lithuania) and Kristin Armstrong (Goldy's). All of us worked in the break except Amber Neben and the gap grew to over 40 seconds. Behind us, the T-Mobile team were the main ones chasing.
With 5km to race, Kimberley Bruckner and I began attacking the break, since we were the only team with two riders there. With 4km to go, Kimberley got away solo. Amber Neben (T-Mobile) then came to the front and began chasing. She chased for over 2km but couldn't close the gap to Kimberley. Finally, Lyne Bessette (Canada) jumped hard to cross the gap and she reached Kimberley with just under 1km to go. From there the pace was high as everyone prepared for the sprint and both Amber Neben and Lyne Bessette lost contact with the group. I was able to come around Rasa Polikevicuite to win the sprint, and Polkanova took third place from Kristin Armstrong. With the time bonuses for first place I moved into the leader's jersey.
Stage 3 - June 17: Stanley Individual Time Trial, 40 km
Stage 3 was a 40km time trial in Stanley. It was a good course for me with some small undulations and a gradual altitude gain for the first 20km and then we turned around and had a fast ride back down to the finish. Saturn had another incredible day with Judith Arndt taking the win, Kimberley Bruckner one second behind her and me another three seconds back. The next rider was Genevieve Jeanson (Rona), another minute behind. With that performance Saturn moved into the first three places on the general classification (myself, Kimberley Bruckner and Judith Arndt).
Stage 4 - June 18: Stanley to Ketchum, 99.7 km Results
Stage 4 we raced 100km from Stanley to Ketchum, over the 8km climb to Galena Pass. The Lithuanian team was very aggressive from the gun and so the speed was high to the base of the climb. At one point, Genevieve Jeanson got into a breakaway with two of her team-mates. That spelt danger for us and so Ina Teutenberg, Cathy Marsal and Petra Rossner (all Saturn) went to the front of the bunch and worked hard to bring them back. There were cross winds at that point and so their work ended up splitting the bunch in two. We caught Genevieve's breakaway group and then there were only a few kilometres left until the climb began. I think the second group just managed to catch us before the climb began.
Up the climb it was again Manon Jutras (Rona) setting the tempo with some aggression coming from Rasa Polikevicuite (Lithuania). At the top we had a group of about 10 riders with three Saturn riders there, Judith Arndt, Kim Bruckner and I. With the advantage of numbers once again, we decided to be aggressive on the descent and again it was Kimberley Bruckner who ended up getting away solo. She still had 30km to travel though and so it was going to be a tough ride to the finish. She got as far in front as 50 seconds but behind her the bunch was reforming as more and more riders caught our group. With the Rona team, the Canadian team and Sponsor Service all keen to chase her down, Kimberley was finally reeled in with 4km to go. Both Judith Arndt and I tried to attack again before the finish but in the end it was a bunch sprint and Petra Rossner (Saturn) was again able to blitz everyone with her speed to take the win from Priska Doppman (Goldy's) and Monica Valen (Sponsor Service). I remained in the leader's jersey.
However, tomorrow is an evil day - 140km finishing with a 15km climb. I think I will struggle to hold on to the lead there!