Tour of Switzerland
Prologue & Stage 1
September 22, 1999, Embrach, Switzerland
On this composite team we have a mechanic/manager, Jean Carlo, who works
frequently on the Euro women's circuit. We also have an incredible soigneur,
Maruska, a Swiss/Italian woman who has experience in both women's and men's
racing. She gave really great massages last night. There is also a man who
arrived really, really late with Nicole and the two Ukranians last night,
waking up the hotel -- by sitting on the horn -- and Mari who let them in.
For the past two days and again today, I have been extremely, utterly
exhausted. I kept hoping by race day I would feel a human being again and
that didn't happen. Today, I did my best to give myself another rest day.
With the hard racing here, that proved impossible.
The prologue was 2.4 km with a few turns you had to speed right through to be
in a top placing. Hanka (Hawk) won with a 2:48ish, then Lynne Bisette
(Canadian National) with 2:52, Mirium Melchers (Dutch National) and Anna
Wilson 4th (Australian National).
The first stage, a few hours later, was a 12km circuit with a 3km climb. We
did that 9 times for a total of 120km (75 miles). On every other lap there
were QOM points on the climb and on the in between laps there were sprint
points at the start/finish.
The roads were super narrow and the field large. The first two times around
were crazy with position-fighting and super speeds up the climb. A young
Russian got clear of the group and stayed away for most of the remaining
laps, building an incredible gap while we took a few of the climbs at a more
controlled pace. Anna Wilson was setting tempo on the flats between the
descent and the climb. I don't know what was going on at the front of the
climb since I was further back. I held on each time though, knowing it would
be better to stay with the group than go around in circles alone. Or worse
yet, have to chase back on after each climb.
With three to go, Longo, who sat in the back most of the race in fear, set a
wicked tempo up the climb. More dropped off and then, or soon after, we
caught the solo Russian. With two to go Lynne went hard for the QOM and Mari
and I dropped off with a group. We caught back on at the bottom of the
climb. Then up again. This time Hanka attacked on the climb and Mari and I
came off again with pretty much the same group. We chased hard and caught
the second group with 1km to go. I don't know how many were in the first
Nicole, clearly our team's climber, zipped up every climb, leading the group
up, many of the laps. The two Ukranians, I didn't recognize in uniform, so I
can't tell you what they did. Kim Smith of USA was in the front group.
Julie Young in the 2nd. Emily Robbins in the 2nd.
Vera Holfield won. Hanka was up there along with Zulfia, who is strong right
now. Other than that, I don't know the results.