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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

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.

Final tuning for the world's

We raced the five day Giro della Toscana, and then we started the last three weeks of training before the World Championship road race in Belgium. The selection of the team was a nice interruption. All the hard work we have put in this season may all be worthwhile! There will be some tough competition, as one would expect at a world championship, but the Aussie girls are motivated to get a result.

We have had two flat circuit races on the weekends. The racing has been aggressive, particularly the first of the two which was a selection race for the Italian National Team. I was disappointed that we did not get a good result in the first race. We had only five riders, as opposed to at least ten from Acca Due O, but the team rode strongly to cover all the moves and create some good opportunities. In the last lap Sara Carrigan attacked and held the bunch off for about three kilometres from about the 4km to go mark! The counter-move would have been a nice card to play, but the opportunity did not arise. Alison Wright did the best of us in the final sprint, but was just out of the top ten. It seemed like things could have gone very differently.

The second of the two races was close to Treviso (near Venice in the north-east of Italy). The Italian National team were riding together in their new kit and looking good. Acca Due O was again present in large numbers especially counting the couple of them in the Italian National team! It was again a flat circuit, about nine kilometres each lap, and 13 laps for about 120km of racing.

In the early part of the race Sara and Alison were going to do some solid efforts in their last bit of preparation for the World Time Trial Championship race on Wednesday. I was nervous whenever they were near the front of the bunch, knowing they were likely to blow the field apart! The pace was really on for a few laps, and I found myself struggling a little, trying to cover heaps of moves but also not feeling really good. You really can notice the difference between the days when you can easily jump across to stuff, and you feel strong, and those other days when the gaps seem larger and staying right on the wheel in front does not come so easily.

Again the Aussies were riding well. We always had riders in the breaks. A group of about ten got away at the eighty kilometre mark, counting a move I had been in. The bunch then sat up and the front group were soon three minutes up the road. The girls from all the teams seemed a little slow to get ready that morning, and there were a few comic attacks in the first kilometre. It may have been partly that after a couple hours of solid riding most of the girls were willing to ride easy and relax for a bit of the last domestic race for the year. The Italians talked loudly and the peloton rode as slowly as possible in pairs chatting. In the front group Olivia Gollan was the only Australian rider. I saw the attack go, and relaxed when I saw she was covering it, but we really needed at least two of us in the break. Should have, would have could have… There were three from the Italian National team, and at least three Acca Due O riders. Olivia came sixth in the final sprint. An Acca Due O rider from Brazil won with an attack in the final kilometre. Katia Longhin was second.

We now have a few days before we fly to Belgium. Hopefully we will have good legs on the day, and our aggression will be rewarded with some nice medals and a rainbow jersey!