29 May 2007

Tour de l'Aude, first stages

A bit of Team TT practice

A few days off for the whole team before we started the serious stuff, but someone should have told the wind as well. With gusts of up to 40km/hr and rain intermittently throughout the day, it made even the easy rides somewhat difficult, and near as not much fun as it could be. But we were here to race, and to defend the title for a third time in a row for Amber, or maybe for Susanne. Racing starts on Thursday, so it would give me a chance to get some order in the truck, ready for the prologue.

Amber almost ready for her prologue start.

A nice place to start stage 1 from.

Thursday came around fast, and before you knew it we were shifting camp to the seaside town Gruissan. No fancy hotels this time around, but large camping facilities, with small cabins and communal food, not the best race conditions for ten days, but at least everyone is the same. The TT was only 3.9km, but it is as much work as even longer stages. TT bikes were looking good, the training bike were looking even better, and the whole camp just looked very professional. Amber was last up for the day, I managed to get some video, but have yet to post it up, but you might find it at her site. Best we could do was 10th with Amber, and 12th for Susanne. But stage one was coming, and already this had some good climbs, so should shake out a few of the weeks players.

Looks like a 70's pose at the beach, but it's just Mir who rode to the start, stretching.

Klas doing some stretching as well.

Stage 1 left from a very nice looking waterfront, out into the ocean, Port la Nouvelle. A nice looking waterfront, with a few of the tourists starting to fill the beach already, not really interested in the race at all. The Kiwi team was parked a few doors down, it was nice to see some black back in the peloton. Today’s race was 120km out and back course, so the truck could stay, a day at the beach. We were to be treated to a nice view of the countryside, and a quick selection of some of the terrain we would have to contend with over the next few days. Nothing much happened, bunch stayed together for most of the race, but a few dropped off the back. Susanne flatted down one of the hills, but Madi swapped it out and got a neutral wheel, and soon joined the bunch. Marianne Vos (World Champ, DSB) out sprinted the bunch to take her first win of the tour.

Susanne almost ready for the start.

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