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The Emma James Diary 2002

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Emma and the Cannibal
Photo: © CN/Anthony Tan

Welcome to's newest female diarist, Australian Emma James. Emma's enjoying her first year as a scholarship holder with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) road cycling team, managed by coach James Victor. She's a gutsy rider who's decided that she'd rather be testing the waters of professional cycling than testing the salinity of the Sydney's waterways as an environmental scientist - which used to be her previous occupation before Emma decided to take the plunge.

Giro del Casentino - 1.7.2

July 21, 2002

A little taste of Italian tarmac

Hi all,

The race the following day in the small, tax-free republic of San Marino was also a very hard day in the office. Seven laps of a 15 km circuit, with five kilometres of climbing each lap that supposedly saw us climb over 2000m for the day!

We started on the rooftop of a shopping centre, with an amusing neutral zone down the spiral ramp from the car park! The only thing more crazy was trying to find out how to get to the roof top to sign on before we had found the ramp for the cars.

The descent was quite technical, with plenty of girls locking up the rear wheel on some of the sharp corners. I had a little difficulty with one of the sweeping hairpins at the bottom of the descent, which we approached with a fair bit of speed. A rough section on the road made me change my line at a bad time - and given that my rear wheel disappeared from beneath me, my rear brake may have been involved - but I could have sworn I didn't touch it! Either way I got a little taste of Italian tarmac, but got up quickly and back to the bunch which was rolling easily for the start of the third lap.

I attacked the bunch before the next time up the climb, with the hope that if they smashed up there, I might still be with the front group if I had a bit of time on them at the bottom. It gave me a bit of time to get myself together, and a chance to see the top girls moving rather rapidly past on the steepest part of the climb. I was with the second group over the top, with only Sara from the Aussie team able to stay in the front group. We rolled around for a few laps, and then I followed an attack by New Zealand rider Rosalind Reekie-May to get in a bunch of four, just ahead of the second group. Rosalind and I were stronger than the other two on the climb, but I left it too late on the final lap to get a big enough gap before the descent. The other two caught us just before the descent, and I was slightly dismayed I didn't push as hard as I should have on the descent. I finished 14th - not a bad result. Sara finished 9th, Olivia was first in the second group in 15th place, with Hayley and Kym Shirley (Itera) with her.

Zanida Stahurstkaia won, finishing six minutes ahead of Rasa and Nicole Brandli. There were trophies and a large supermarket bag of food from shops within the complex for the top 20 places. All in all, not a bad day out.



Emma's racing exploits in 2002

  • July 21 - Giro del Casentino - Italy
  • July 20 - GP Carnevale d'Europa - Italy
  • July 5-14 - Giro d'Italia Femminile - Italy
  • June 21-23 - Giro del Trentino Alto Adige e Sud Tirolo - Italy
  • June 15 - 15th Coppa delle Nazioni - Italy
  • June 1 - 4th Trofeo Riviera della Versilia - Massarossa, Italy
  • May 17-26 - Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin - France
  • May 12 - 3rd Trofeo Guareschi Prodotti Ittici - Parma, Italy
  • May 11 - 16th Giro del Friuli - Fruili, Italy
  • March 10 - World Cup #2 - Hamilton City, New Zealand
  • March 4-6 - Tour de Snowy - Australia (Emma's first big win with the AIS)
  • March 3 - World Cup #1 - Cooma - Thredbo, Australia