After the first few stages, the team was starting to warm up to the idea of the first World Cup race. The training races were going well, and the team were having a relaxing time, before and after the races. When talking to people at home they were hearing stories of snow and cold with rain, so it was nice for them to get out an enjoy the sun for a change. All of the other teams had been staying a mass camping site, in tiny cabins for the week, we had found a very nice holiday house near the beach. We could cook our own food for a change, and just relax without all the other teams hanging around peering and gossiping as usual. We get enough of this during the season with some of the bigger stage races, it was nice not to have to deal with it this week.
On the way to the start, watch out!
The last stage of the Tour was at a nice little beach town, not far from where we were staying. A nice little circuit, which we were racing around a few times for the race. The course was really a square criterium, but instead of having the start finish in the little main street, they decided to have it as far away from the town as they could. Some of the organizers should think a little bit about placement when they are setting up their races. A bit of local crowd near and on the start finish always creates a better atmosphere for everyone. Most of the girls just can’t understand their thinking sometimes, it’s one thing the Euros know how to do, and that’s set themselves up for a lot of spectators for the finishes. The beach looked pretty mean, many rips and big waves, so no swimming afterwards, damnit.
Ok, now have you heard about the Aussie and his new sheep...
Nothing much happened for the first couple of laps, a sprint at every passing of the finish line, this speed things up every lap. We were going for the odd sprint, but the girls were just trying to mess things up a little at the front. Coming into the second to last lap, about 500m from the sprint, we see what looked like the whole peloton go down. All hands to the crash, and what a mess, all our girls are either on the ground, or stopped with multiple riders downs in front of them stopping them from riding. I looked up and saw the whole T-Mobile team (which we found out later were responsible for the crash) powering off into to the distance. This was a bad situation for us, so we moved fast to get everyone up and outer there. There was also a pile of the kiwi girls on the road all around us as well, but I held myself back from helping them, sorry wrong team. To make things worse while trying to sort things out there was one of the girls, Dorte, from Denmark, crying and screaming as loud as she could while holding her elbow. We have a saying, the louder they scream the lesser the damage. So I knew she was not too bad as she was screaming at the top of her voice. She later had a broken elbow and some nice cut on her elbow, that’s all, but my own elbow (past accident area) was wincing in sympathy for her.
The crash site, thanks to Cycling News for this pic.
All, but one of the girls were sweet, they were back on chasing the front pack. Annette was out, with suspected concussion, a pretty bruised body and a smashed helmet. Her bike would need some good checking over tonight. The chasers never caught the front bunch, so we just rolled in for the first tour, almost all intact and safe. Can’t remember who finished on the podium, but I’m sure you can find that out yourself. One day off, then the World cup race to come. A couple of the kiwi’s had some scraps and knocks, but most of them were looking good at the finish.