World Cup No 1 – Cooma to Thredbo – 3rd March 2002
Conditions: moderate winds, 23°C, 11am
Well, this is the first world cup race for 2002 and the pace started sedately as we headed out of Cooma into a gentle headwind. The peloton was very nervous with the first crash happening only a few km’s of Cooma. The course was undulating for the first 70km (until Jindabyne) and then climbed steadily and in parts steeply for the remaining 34km, finishing in the ski town, Thredbo.
The first solo attack was made by AIS rider, Oliva Gollan at the 16km mark. I moved to the front, along with a few others from the Australian National team and AIS team, to slow the pace and give Olivia a better chance at staying away. We slowed the pace to 30km/hr and my legs were starting to feel cold we were going to slowly. A few Dutch riders moved to the front and decided to lift the tempo a little, steadying Gollan’s time gap to 2min. I moved to the front as often as I could and eased the speed off.
A few of riders dropped their chains as we climbed up over the dam wall into Jindabyne causing a crash of about 10 riders. Fortunately no-one from the National team was caught in the crash. I stayed towards the front of the peloton as we negotiated a roundabout in Jindabyne and then turned hard left, up the steep 2km climb of Ivo’s farm. Doppmann (International) put in a hard attack just as the peloton absorbed Gollan, fatigued from nearly 60km of headwind. The peloton splintered up the climb, with only 55 or so riders managing to stay in contact over the climb. A few kilometres later, I covered for Amy Safe (National Team) who leapt off the front with a Dutch rider in hot pursuit. The Dutch rider lost contact with Safe who continued to hold a 20sec gap on the peloton for another 5km. I moved to the front and tried to steady the pace, however several attacks followed, and as we hit another tough climb, the peloton splintered and never regrouped. Twenty five riders were in the front group, including 3 of my team mates, Safe, Shirley and Hemsley. The 2nd group slowed to a steady tempo as all the major teams were represented in the lead group.
Hemsley, Rutherford and Shirley continuously attacked in the final few kilometres, however Saturn worked furiously to keep the peloton together and lead Rossner (Saturn) out in a sprint finish. Rossner succeeded in winning round 1, followed closely Rochelle Gilmore (NSWIS) and Mirjam Melchers (Netherlands).
Our team did well with Shirley finishing 11th, Hemsley 15th, Safe 25th while Rickards and I were in the 2nd group, finishing 30th and 35th respectively, 4mins50 down.
Now its off to get some rest and start preparing for the Tour de Snowy that starts in Khancoben tomorrow.