HP LaserJet Women's Challenge -- Stage 7
June 14, 2000
It had to happen. What goes down, must go up. Today, I didn't feel totally
useless on the bike. Our goal was to get Nicole's sprint jersey back. The
rest of the team would either get in breaks going up the road on the two
climbs or stay with Nicole as she climbed and get her back to the field, for
the two sprints which came after the climb.
The first climb and sprint was the easier of the two because Nicole liked the
climb and found herself in a good group at the top. In addition, the road
went downhill after the top. Catherine, Katirna, and I chased with others
while Nicole sat on the back of the group. We then had some time before the
finish. Tracey Gaudrey (Timex) and Leah Goldstein (800.com) got off the
front. Other teams tried to bridge up, as did we. Finally, Leigh, Katrina,
and I went the front (much to the unhappiness of Odessa (Timex), who tried to
convince us Nicole wouldn't win the sprint anyway so why would we bother
chasing). We caught them and helped out in the sprint, which Nicole did win.
The second climb was shorter. However, after the top, there were many miles
of false flat. The wind was almost as strong as it was yesterday. Nicole
being as small as she is, has trouble in the crosswinds. She also had
redlined on the climb. With the wind and Nicole struggling to stay with us,
the chase proved difficult and long. We caught the field two kilometers
before the sprint. We took Nicole to the front. Leigh did the leadout with
Nicole taking second. She now had the jersey by one point over Sarah Ulmer.
The rest of the race was flat to rolling. Some attempts to get away were
made by all the teams. Catherine Cardwell made a great attack up the side of
the road, creating the only real late race break. The British riders took
over at the front and chased it down. Petra stayed very comfortable the
entire day. She very convincingly won the sprint. I was 11th, just off the
podium of ten. Catherine placed 14th. Mostly, it was exciting to see Nicole
once again on the podium receiving the purple sprint jersey.