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Rochelle Gilmore Journal

I start to wind up the pace

Amsterdam Six Day…for women!

Cycling News
October 30, 2008, 0:00 GMT,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

Did you know that there are Six Day events for women too? Yes, that's right, also with Madison...

October 30, 2008

Did you know that there are Six Day events for women too? Yes, that's right, also with Madison racing!

I have just finished my first experience racing track events for six consecutive days with a partner and it was a real buzz. The women raced the event together (between events) with the professional men - the most famous competing here in Amsterdam were Paolo Bettini and Erik Zabel.

The crowds were amazing and the atmosphere was riveting. The music starts pumping and the crowds start cheering, the boards are trembling and then the heart starts racing and it doesn't matter how you perform - it's still a great feeling!

Some 13 women's teams were invited to this event to make up a total of 26 riders. There were three events per night for the women, but each rider only participated in one individual event - points race or elimination - plus the Madison each night.

My partner was Emma Trott from Great Britain and we were up against some of the best track riders in the world. They included Marianne Vos/Adrie Visser, Kirsten Wild/Vera Koedooder, Angela Henning/Elke Gebhart as well as some young guns like Amy Pieters and Lotte Van Hoek.

The women riders were restricted to a maximum gear of 52 x 16 (or 87.8). This restriction made my return to track racing a little tougher than expected, after a long season on the road pushing bigger gears. The younger riders certainly benefited from this ruling and dominated the racing.

It's fair to say that Emma and I were well off the pace! We could probably find a long list of excuses as to why but the bottom line is - we went to Amsterdam very under-prepared. I physically and mentally used the racing as training and preparation for the international track season that starts this Friday with the first round of the World Cup series in Manchester, England.

Lizzie Armitstead and Alex Greenfield from the Great Britain National Team won the Amsterdam Six Day; only being beaten in one out of six Madison events by Marianne Vos and Adrie Visser on the last evening. The youngsters are on great form leading into their home World Cup event this weekend.

Vera Koedooder and Kirsten Wild took second overall and the junior combination of Amy Pieters and Lotte Van Hoek took out an impressive third.

The Six Day event for women was run by Michael Zijlaard and Kim van Djik, who did a remarkable job running the event for its first time. The race format and structure was perfect and we're all looking forward to returning to the event in 2009!

It's now my job to get healthy before Friday's World Cup Points Race. I'm fighting of a nasty chest infection and head cold by spending all day in bed, there's not much more I can do!

I'm here in Manchester at the race hotel trying to stay relaxed. We'll see how it goes!


I enjoyed the sunshine in Colombia

The Colombian experience

Cycling News
October 16, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

Let me share my South American experience with you! A couple of months ago I was contacted by one of...

October 16, 2008

Let me share my South American experience with you! A couple of months ago I was contacted by one of the organiser's of the Gran Caracol de Pista track race in Colombia – Julian Jose Velasques.

Julian had offered a generous package for myself and a racing partner which included airfares, four-star accommodation, meals, a personal masseur and mechanic as well as a satisfactory starting payment.

I'd never been to South America and given that the event date was just a few days after the Road World Championships and at the end of the European road season I accepted the offer and invited Tiffany Cromwell to share the experience.

We had no idea what we were in for when we boarded the flight from Milan – we were relieved to see some of the Italian team on our flight - seeing Roberto Chiappa at the check-in confirmed that there really was a race being held in Colombia and the two Australian chicks weren't being set up!

When we finally arrived in Medellin, Colombia, we were greeted by an official-looking man who showed us to our mini bus. The bus was full of other cyclists from Italy, Argentina, USA, Malaysia, Cuba, Chile, Spain and Venezuela. The mini bus was surrounded by police escorts - the trip from the airport was exciting - a bus full of fun, happy people trying to communicate in different languages. The scenery was very green and the roads were sometimes new and sometimes non-existent!

We were so tired after the 15 hours of flights from Milan – via Paris and Bogota – that we couldn't manage any socialising upon our arrival, so we just ate dinner with all the riders and then went to bed before 8pm. We had been advised about the procedures for the following day and it was at this point that we realised the organisation was going to be fantastic and everything had been planned well. We had been worried for weeks that the trip could be a little scary and unorganised but in contrary it was unbelievably well organised – I'm not sure that I've ever been treated so well.

Our first day at the track ran smoothly, our bikes were ready when we arrived – nice full carbon team Colombia Pinarello bikes fitted with the correct size stems, bars, cranks and chain-rings. We were all set for our return to the track! Ah, nearly forgot – campagnolo rear discs with a carbon deep rim front wheel – not bad!

Tiff and I floated around the track being paced by the motorbike. The thin air (1500m altitude) and the return to high intensity cycling was a bit of a shock to our systems but even so it was fun to be back on the track.

The 250m track in Medellin is outdoors and out of concrete. The track felt quite fast. Due to my lack of leg speed I rode a big gear but still felt I could get on top of the gear quickly and spin well on the fast surface.

Our Gran Hotel was located in the heart of Medellin so that afternoon Tiff and I were keen to check out the shops. The city was old and dirty and the air was muggy, hot and polluted. At times I was craving a breath of clean fresh air from my home in the Italian dolomites! The shops were what we'd describe as 'junk' shops - cheap shops that all sell the same things. The streets and malls were very busy and crowded with people trying to sell things or busk for money.

Prior to our trip we had been told by so many people to be careful in Colombia and that it's a dangerous place! At first we thought that the organisers and hotel staff were going a little over the top with their warnings and telling us it's not safe to go anywhere or do anything! Tiff and I had been provided with police escorts so we felt somewhat safe. The police would wait at the door of the hotel and whenever we exited, they'd shadow us on foot or if we went in a taxi, they'd follow on their motorbikes.

That second evening at dinner we heard our first shocking 'Colombia' story from Josiah Ng, the Malaysian track sprinter. Josiah had walked into the wrong street down town and he got mauled by a group of five prostitutes! Josiah was clutching his wallet and belongings so tightly that unfortunately he didn't have a free hand to protect his crown jewels which were squeezed to the point of tears… he pushed his way out of the street to safety and couldn't believe what had just happened.

We (girls) were always surrounded by men with guns, so we assumed the security in the cities was pretty good but that wasn't the case - we'd just been provided with exceptional protection. The city appeared to be full of crime and violence.

Racing: The event format was two to three races per night for each rider. Our first race was 15 laps, one point for the first rider across the line each lap whilst the last rider across the line each lap was eliminated. The last sprint awarded points 3-2-1 for the top three riders. The women endurance riders in Colombia also completed a 60-lap points race each night as well as a team pursuit type event with their male teammates. We were lucky enough to be teamed up with Santiago Botero and Oscar Sevilla but unfortunately…..we never got the opportunity to race!

Day one of racing; our return to the track lasted only five laps! Tiff and I had predicted that the first few laps of the first race were going to be ballistic and dangerous so we'd agreed to hang back until the riders tired a little and then we'd start being active after the halfway point. After the sprint on lap five a wobbly rider tried to swing up the track while looking over her shoulder- she overlapped the wheel in front of her and brought the field down. Bikes and bodies were going everywhere!

I watched the crash happen in front of me but unfortunately I had nowhere to go, I crashed into the carnage and slid safely down the track, as I was tucked up in a ball on the duck boards a rider slammed into my lower back… I was stretchered off to hospital and a CT scan showed a small fracture on the L5 posterior process. Tiff also came tumbling down and cracked her helmet; she lost a lot of skin off every limb!

It was Vera Carrara and Tatiana Guderzo who cleaned up the women's endurance events in Colombia.

I was a little stiff and sore for the next few days in Colombia but I managed to experience the night life with cycling friends and enjoy the racing from the VIP box. The hospital follow ups and race organisers continued to impress with their constant concern and hospitality!

The scariest part of the trip was seeing a street brawl develop and break out! We started to observe the argument but as the participants and violence increased my heart started racing. I witnessed people smashing bottles and stabbing each other and then a policeman just 10metres from me fired two gun shots- that's when I turned and ran for my life! I jumped into a nearby cab and screamed "go, go, go, go!"

If I return to Colombia next year it will not be to experience Colombia again- I've ticked that box! I'll just be going to enjoy the well organised, world class racing!


This is the kit Rochelle will be wearing

Making a change

Cycling News
August 07, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

June was the last time I posted a diary entry so; a few significant things have happened since then-...

August 8, 2008

June was the last time I posted a diary entry so; a few significant things have happened since then- the biggest news being that I have officially left Team Menikni Selle Italia. Whist I appreciate the opportunities I was given with Menikini Selle Italia and the results I earned, it's time now for me to make a move, take a big step forward and start working/training more specifically with a secure race and career plan.

My move from Menikini Selle Italia was being negotiated and finalised during the Giro d'Italia which placed a little added stress on my entire body. I was not satisfied with my 3rd place podium or my two 5th places, but I also realise it would have taken a super human effort to outsprint in-form Ina Teutenberg this year!

I've been living and training in Castronno, Varese with the Australian National Team for the past month. I probably don't need to explain in detail what the national team base in Varese has to offer an athlete... all the needed support, services and facilities are right there at your finger tips - including some new super high-tech recovery pools with a built-in iPod dock!

What I value most is the atmosphere and the quality of living life in a foreign country. I've joined the Australian Women's Road team for the remainder of the year: that's Peta Mullens, Vicki Whitelaw, Carlee Taylor, Tiffany Jane Cromwell, Josephine Tomic and a few other ladies who will float in and out for particular races. This is the strongest, most talented group the AIS have seen for a long time but most importantly (to me) it's the happiest fun-loving group I've been a part of for a long time!

As a result of this team's physical strength and high spirits we pulled off a very satisfying win in Germany on Saturday at the Olympia Preis Bochum Criterium.

Our team started Peta Mullens, Leonie Burford, Carlee Taylor, Ruth Corset, Vicki Whitelaw, Josephine Tomic, Emma Rickards and myself. My team-mates controlled the race and executed our plan perfectly; every member of the team was active and fulfilled their individual requirements in order to pull off the win. John 'Pothole' Forest was our director calling the shots from the sidelines. I was delivered to the final 200m by lead-out rider Peta Mullens, and I had a powerful sprint to take the win from two strong German sprinters!

The following day we finished second in the UCI 1.1 race- Sparkassen Giro. We didn't expect a big bunch finish but after six hilly laps of aggressive riding and strong attacks from team Flexpoint the race came back together! The national team once again gave a perfect lead-out and I also must compliment Pothole for his positive motivation in the final kilometres: a man who knows how to get his team going and say the right things on the radio!

I was beaten by a stronger rider in the sprint; Suzanne de Goede had explosive power that I couldn't match! I was on her wheel with 200m to go, but lost the wheel when she kicked... I certainly underestimated her power and must be satisfied with second this time!

I'll now join one of the strongest professional women's teams in the world - Team Flexpoint - for the Post Tour Crits in Holland. I'm really looking forward to joining this team but just quietly I'm a little nervous about being able to race up to their standard in these crits - these women are unbelievably strong! Nah, honestly I just hope to have an enjoyable time and hopefully I can increase my power during these two weeks of crit/power racing.

My block of crit racing with team Flexpoint will be interrupted by another UCI race in Holland this weekend, the Holland Hills Classic, where I'll once again represent the Australian National Team.

I have a busy race schedule for the remainder of the season and will base out of Holland until three weeks before the World Championships in Varese.

More reports to come following the crits with the Flexpoint women.... Excited!


Menikini-Selle Italia /Master Color was the top team in PEI

A huge success for our team

Cycling News
June 18, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

Tour de Prince Edward Island With our team Menikini-Selle Italia, we won stages one, two, three and...

June 18, 2008

Tour de Prince Edward Island

With our team Menikini-Selle Italia, we won stages one, two, three and five (second in stage four) in the recent Tour de Prince Edward Island (PEI). We took first, second and third in the general classification, and we also won the mountain and sprints jerseys.

One might ask if there was anyone else there – well, the answer is yes! There was a strong field in PEI; not quite a European field but winning did not come easily to us, we had to fight and work intelligently as a team to pull off those consistent results.

My team-mates were Nat Bates, Kori Kelly Seehafer and Trine Schmidt; we raced as a team of four. Our director was Klas Johannson and our manager was Walter Ricci.

We had a nice, relaxed trip and worked really well together – it was the first time this year that we have raced as an English speaking team and I think that the language aspect alone contributed to our success. We were all committed to each other and had 100% faith in our director's tactics… even though we often questioned our capabilities – or if the demand/task would hurt ourselves more than our competitors.

This past week we all felt equally a part of each and every result. We all played different but very important rolls and we can't forget how important the directors role is in tactical bike racing.

We definitely did not go into the tour feeling cocky; I personally went into the tour feeling very nervous. We were up against some well known strong sprinters from Cuba and also a lot of unknown competition. Our team manager had high hopes and expectations leading into one of his favourite races, so we were feeling the pressure.

After winning on day one we all felt very satisfied; not so much with the result but more so with our tactics and faith we put in each other. We were able to control the race with wise orders from our race car and then we executed the sprint finish perfectly. I was unsure of how fast and how far my team-mates could take me in the final kilometres, so I didn't know if I could or should rely on them. I took a chance and vocally directed them from behind with three kilometres to go. We pulled off our original plan and won!

Our confidence was running high after day one. We had learnt a lot about our commitment to each other, our abilities, our current form and our motivation to win. I was surprisingly impressed with the physical condition of all three of my team-mates and we all managed to make it through the week without breaking down or getting sick.

The tour was especially satisfying for me because as a sprinter it often feels unfair that the whole team doesn't stand on the podium after a triumph, but at the Tour of PEI all of my team-mates were on the podium! It was a great feeling.

If you could have seen the work my team put in in order to make sure I got to the finish in better condition than my feared rivals, you would understand why my three stage wins at the Tour of PEI were so appreciably satisfying!

My next race will be Rabobank Ster Zeeuwsche Eilanden with my new team Flexpoint. I'll fly to Holland on Wednesday to meet with my new team-mates and staff, and to adjust to my new bikes and equipment before the Giro d'Italia. We start the Rabobank Tour on Thursday 19th.

More soon,


Rochelle Gilmore during her fight against the clock

Hovering around the podium

Cycling News
June 12, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

We experienced a nail-biter today! Trine went out and posted a super fast time while there were...

June 12, 2008

Montréal Tour, stage three – June 4: Lachine - Lachine, 2.9km

We experienced a nail-biter today! Trine went out and posted a super fast time while there were still about 50 riders to complete the short time trial! Trine rode the 2.9kms in four minutes and 15 seconds and as we watched each rider come in, Trine still had the fastest time with three riders to go. Only two of the final three riders bettered Trine's time- the first was Nürnberger's Suzanne De Goede and only by tenths of a second, that was tough to take…I imagine Trine's knows exactly where she could have found an extra half a second! Then High Road's Judith Arndt came flying home in four minutes and 11 seconds, a well deserved win!

Kori rode strong to finish 12th and I was also happy with a top 20… 19th actually- but much better than 54th last year! I'm not so experienced with riding TT's and pacing myself- I blew up before the turning point, my legs exploded and I had to float/roll for 30 seconds before I could push on the pedals again and build into a rhythm… Ouch!

Montréal Tour, stage four – June 4: Petite-Italie Criterium, 50km

The highlight of our day was the 'staff' race which had been talked up a little by confident staff members during the past few days.

It was really exciting for us professional cyclist to watch our team staff (who are mostly ex- professionals themselves) participate in a fun race which many quietly took serious! The race was only four laps of the crit circuit and started 30 minutes before our race. Our representative was Klas Johannson (Menikini mechanic), but we had no idea what competition he was up against.

We know he's strong but untrained and out of condition… we knew the young 'High Road' mechanic Gregor looked mighty fit and we also knew Jim Williams from 'Advil' and Jens Zemke from 'Nürnberg' would be participating. Klas surprised everyone by smashing it out of the blocks, he put a full length of the straight into the bunch before one 'unknown' rider bridged across and kept going!

Klas fought for another lap before drifting back to the pack with a lap to go and hanging in until the line. The strong unknown rider won the race and took home the cash! Klas will represent us again on the final day of the Tour De Prince Edward Island.

Our race was interesting given that only five seconds separated the leaders Judith Arndt and Suzanne De Goede; this meant that the race was really between High Road and Nürnberger. Our goal was to set the race up for a sprint and my team-mates did exactly that! I only had two team-mates in the race – Kori and Trine – but that was enough; they did a great job towards the end of the race and I started the final lap in perfect position.

Things got a little messy, or should I say 'aggressive', down the back straight and it was a real fight for position. I went into the final corner, 250m from the line, in fourth position behind Suzanne, Regina and Oenone. Suzanne got through the corner first and powered to the line. Regina did a great job of slowing Oenone and me through the final corner, so Oenone and I finished second and third while Brook Miller came flying home for fourth.

Montréal Tour, stage five – June 5: Mont-Saint - Hilaire, 115km

We went into today's stage with one main objective – to protect Trine's sixth position on the general classification. Our action plan was to make sure Trine was at the front of the bunch at the bottom of the climb each lap…. We accomplished this.

Our next objective was to have Kori in any of the threatening breakaways; she made one strong solo attempt but missed a few decisive moves, which were fortunately unsuccessful.

My job for the day was to stick with Trine. I did just that until 100m from the top of the last climb, which was just three or four kilometres from the finish. I jumped hard over the top of the last climb, trying to get myself back into the action before the finish. I just made it to the front of the group with 500m to go and I had no idea what was going on! I could see one rider in the distance and I also noticed Suzanne De Goede was chasing hard on the front, so I assumed there was a breakaway but I didn't realise it was only Judith off the front, and we were sprinting for a podium! Brooke Miller took an early flyer and held off the bunch to take second, Audrey Cordon took third and I came in fourth.

So that's the end of the Montréal tour for another year! We (Menikini) managed three podium finishes and two fourth places… of course we were hoping for a win but we're definitely on track. We'll now head to Prince Edward Island for another five-day tour.

More after tour de PEI!


Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini Selle Italia) felt good going into the Canadian campaign

Off to a good start in Canada

Cycling News
June 10, 2008, 0:00 BST,
April 22, 2009, 20:18 BST

Our team – Menikini Selle Italia – arrived in Montréal Wednesday afternoon after a long haul from...

June 10, 2008

Montréal World Cup, Quebec, Canada, May 31, 2008

Our team – Menikini Selle Italia – arrived in Montréal Wednesday afternoon after a long haul from Milan to Montréal via Zürich. We had all day Thursday and Friday to relax and try to adjust to the time difference. We found that we were very tired by 8pm, hence we all woke up at 5am for the first two mornings here in Montréal!

Saturday morning we woke up feeling rested, motivated and ready to race – despite the really bad weather! Amongst our team of six was the defending Montréal World Cup winner – Fabiana Luperini. Our other members of the team were Kori Kelly Seehafer, Natalie Bates, Trine Schmidt, Lorena Foresi and myself.

Fabiana is a class above all of us when it comes to climbing so all we could do was give her some words of encouragement during the race and make sure she had all the food and drink she required… the rest was up to her…

As the race went, it was only Fabiana and Kori of Menikini who remained in the front group with a few laps to go (of 11 laps). The last time up the climb Judith Arndt and Fabiana pulled clear of the small group that was left – Judith worked really hard on the final lap while Fabiana was too tired to contribute. Fabiana knew all she could do was hang on for second place – which was a fantastic effort considering she had not peaked for this event this year.

Menikini is very pleased with another podium finish at the Montréal World Cup – it's a great start to our block of racing in Canada. Fabiana returned to Italy the day after the World Cup to focus on a tour in Spain and the Giro d'Italia. The rest of us will stay on and race the Grand Tour De Montréal and the Tour de Prince Edward Island as a team of five.

I felt surprisingly fit in the World Cup yesterday so I'm super motivated to start racing the tour tomorrow!

Montréal Tour, stage one – June 2: Chateauguay Road Race 85.5km

We started today's race under beautiful blue skies and in warm weather. The race was rather controlled until after the first sprint, just a few laps into the race; then the bunch really started moving with aggression! It was a fast, fun and active race. We (Menikini- Selle Italia) had a rider with most of the moves. Lorena Foresi, Trina Schmidt and Kori Kelly Seehafer monitored the breaks for the first three quarters of the race – I raced near the front but hid myself well out of the wind. Nat Bates moved forward with a few laps to go and followed the final dangerous moves.

The weather turned bad midway through the race, the black clouds rolled in- and in no time we were drenched with heavy rain, the roads were wet and slippery and our vision was challenged by beams of sunlight breaking through the clouds. At this point in the race things didn't slow up, riders continued to attack aggressively but nothing went too far up the road.

The bunch came back together with a lap to go, so Team High Road and Nürnberger took control for their sprinters. I tried to take advantage of the High Road train but in the final kilometres many other riders fought to do the same. I wasted a little energy until the pace picked up again with 800m to go – and then things settled.

I had a good position behind a couple of High Road riders, including Oenone Wood; Regina Schleicher was also just in front of me. With a 150m to go Regina kicked to Oenone's right and I went to the left maybe I should have kicked earlier because I gave myself no time to hit max speed/power before the line! I finished where I started my sprint – third.

Regina won toady, Oenone was second and I was third. Our team rode a perfect race tonight and I'm confident they'll do the same tomorrow – hopefully we won't have to wait long for our turn to stand on top!


Rochelle Gilmore Journal

Rochelle Gilmore - super sprinter and scratch race silver medallist at the 2002 world track championships - is a woman of ambition. After proving her prowess on the track, she's aiming to forge a successful career on the road. In 2004, she rode for Denmark-based Team S.A.T.S but in 2005, Rochelle joins the one of the longest-named teams in women's cycling, G.S. Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan, where she'll team up with Britain's Nicole Cooke to make a formidable duo for the finale of any major race. Follow Rochelle as she continues her rise to the top of the tree in 2005 with her regular diary updates. Latest Entry: Australia UK USA