23 September 2006

World Championships, Salzburg, Austria.

The rain followed me from Italy, damn it.

Just got a few moments spare to myself to relax for an hour or so with my feet up. It’s the last race for me this year, and the most important one of course. I am working again for the country of Sweden, looking after the team of women, U23 men and the Elite men, both for the TT (which has been) and the road races (to come). And of course looking after my own girls in the team in their various nations. I have had a busy time so far and the worst is yet to come.

The following car for Susannes TT

In our own team we have Susanne (Sweden), Linda (Denmark), Loes (Holland), Amber (USA) racing both the TT and the road race. And also Madeline (Germany) racing the road race as well. It’s nice to know that our team is good enough to give the Worlds a really good thrashing. For Sweden we have a full team of six in the Women’s road race, one for the TT, three for the U23 road race, two for the Elite men’s TT, and one for the Elite men’s road race. It’s a few bikes to look after, a few dozen wheels, a few sleepless nights, and some very nervous rides in the team car.

Amber warming up before the start of her TT

The TT went well for the team, (Sweden), with Susanne just using it for training for the road race, think she was 15th overall. The two elite men are done as well, Gustav Larsen, and Thomas Louvquist, both had a good ride, but unfortunately didn’t win. The TT course was mean, full of hills, steep (20% in places) climbs, twisty downhills and beautiful countryside. The most of it will be used for the road race as well, which is sweet for our team (Buitenpoort) and Susanne (Sweden and Buitenpoort).

Susanne almost at the top of one of the climbs.

Got a busy day with the U23 starting at 9am, then the women starting later in the afternoon. The streets are lined with spectators already, many of them already drinking and cheering the riders practicing on the course. The number of spectators expected is over 200,000, closer to 250,000 from what we have seen already. And this is for a bike race, and how many people go to watch a Rugby game. That’s right, what’s rugby, I laugh to myself when I recall a line from the Minister of NZ sport, “The Rugby World cup will finally put NZ on the map, with 75% of the Worlds population watching it on TV”. Is he dreaming, not a single person in the last year has even known about the game of rugby (I feel happy with this), let alone them knowing about NZ holding the WC in 2011. Europe doesn’t care, they love cycling. Oh yeah his other best quote in the same article “Half of New Zealanders want to be an All Black, the other half want to marry one”. Get real, maybe he should come here, then he would want a road WC in his own back yard. Even thousands of already drunk spectators (most of them, Belgium’s), have not caused a single problem, no fights, no stress, just loud cheering, even for the old guys checking out the course. There is huge paddocks already full of campers, with all the nations flags flying, but peace prevails in the cycling world. It’s going to be a good weekend.

Funny, but the only scandal so far is from the host nation, with three of the U23 men caught with something dodgy in their blood. The temptation for the little guys was too much. Otherwise, my time out is over. Back to work, but knowing there is only a few days to go is keeping my energy up. And working on a potential World Champs bike, is incentive enough.

And nice to see the helicopters covering the womens race for a change.

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