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Sara Carrigan

It's all happening

Cycling News
May 06, 2005, 1:00 BST,
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

The last couple of weeks have involved quite a bit of travelling and racing. I've written bits and...

The last couple of weeks have involved quite a bit of travelling and racing. I've written bits and pieces in between and now that we are on the long drive to Spain, I can finish it. After Drenthe we stayed down in Belgium for a week for some training in the hills and for the races that were held there, including the World Cup round at Fleche Wallone. After this we had two Dutch races in the north of Holland; in 'Friesland', the home of the Friesian cow. It is actually so far north that they have their own language and when the two 'Fries' girls on our team chat together in 'Fries', the 'normal Dutchies' are unable to understand. Friesland is also renown for not so nice weather but we were blessed with a warm, 20°c, blue-sky day, and I was presented with some flowers as Olympic Champion on the start line.

However, it was a pity about the race. Myself and four of my teammates were caught behind a crash 10km into the race and never saw the front of the race again! There was a touch of wheels in the middle of the bunch resulting in a domino effect and a roadblock of fallen riders across the entire road. There were a couple of broken collarbones and also a broken pelvis, but fortunately none of us came down and had to unclip and walk our bikes around the chaos. There were crosswinds at the time, the hammer went down and by the time we were back on our bikes there was quite a gap to bridge. The race was 120km and I refused to think that we would be chasing for 110km! But that's what happened and it was a long day. We did have three girls that were in front of the crash, and in the end we placed third with Adrie Visser.

We had raced in a criterium the day before on a circuit that was 1.3km long with eight corners. We did really well, with Suz taking the win - I was third and Nat was fourth. We finished the 60km race in an hour and 20 minutes, and I certainly felt it because I had been sick with food poisoning two days previously, after Fleche Wallone. We arrived back from our week in Belgium and I ate some unopened yoghurt that expired that day but thought it would be ok. However, I think it was this that caused me to spend all my time in the toilet that night and the following day. I have never had food poisoning before but the good thing about it is that it only lasts a day!

For the last week of April I spent my time in Italy, in Novellara, the Australian Cycling base. A camp had been organised for all the Aussie riders in professional teams for medical check-ups, physio and bike position. I received my new bike a month ago when I arrived in Europe and just in the last week started to feel some back and knee pain. It turns out that my seat was 7mm too high so I was very grateful to get that sorted.

From Italy we drove five hours to Lausanne in Switzerland for a one-day time trial, which was on Sunday. It is considered as one of the selection races for the World Championships in which I want to compete in both the TT and the road race, so I wanted to perform fairly well. That didn't quite happen as I placed ninth, but there are more selection races to come, so all is not lost.

I flew back to Amsterdam after the TT, and the following morning at 6am we began our drive to Spain where I am shacked up in the back of the camper. It is quite a long drive with 10 hours of driving today, a stopover in a French hotel tonight and then another 6 hours tomorrow. However, thus far it has been pleasurable watching some movies on the DVD screens, having a sleep in one of the beds and doing some work on my uni assignment which is due this Friday. The racing in Spain starts Wednesday and is a three-day tour before the World Cup on Sunday. We then have three days recovery and begin the 10-day Tour de l'Aude in France, so I'll be in touch.

Keep smiling,

Back on track

Cycling News
February 16, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

My fleeting days as a 'trackie' on the velodrome are now finished but I had an absolute ball! I have...

My fleeting days as a 'trackie' on the velodrome are now finished but I had an absolute ball! I have wanted to have a go at the track for the past few years but my road goals were always a priority. However, this year things seemed to fit in and I decided to fly down to Adelaide to compete in the National Track Championships.

1997 was the last time, when I was a junior, that I rode on an indoor board track. So, I made the decision to spend a week on the 'boards' a week before the championships and I am so glad I did! Track training is totally different to that of a road program in that each day consisted of a double training session with 1-2hrs in the morning on the road and then 1-2hrs on the track in the afternoon. Ian McKenzie, the National AIS Track Endurance Coach, lent me a bike to train and race on and my first training session on the track was a spin-out - literally! I wasn't used to the G-forces in the bends, which made me feel dizzy and disoriented! However, I did feel better and more comfortable after each day on the track and by the time race day came round, I was looking forward to seeing what time I could post.

The championships run from Monday 7th to Saturday 12th and the event for which I had been preparing was the 3000m Individual Pursuit on the Tuesday. Qualifying was the 1:30pm session and whilst I was unsure as to what would be a realistic time for me to achieve, I was aiming at 3min40sec. I qualified in 3:42 and my first reaction was disappointment. However, my time was 2nd fastest, which meant that I was in the final for the gold/silver medal ride-off. These were the qualifying times:

The final was the 6:30pm session and I was really determined to get to my goal of 3:40. I went through the first 2k at 2:25 and slowly died in the last kilometre to eventually post 3:44. I had given it everything and it felt like a faster ride, so I was bitterly disappointed to look at the scoreboard to realise I hadn't quite reached my mark.

In the end, I know I should be happy with my silver medal at my fist senior track nationals and for my third ever pursuit. So I definitely want to come back and do more of this track stuff, I really enjoyed it!

However, for now I am back on the road again and the next trip away is to Geelong for the first World Cup of the season on Feb 27. From there it is straight to New Zealand for the second World Cup, back home for three weeks and then overseas! I have copied my race schedule below.

I am really happy with how the form is coming on after a bit of track speed and intensity, so I expect a win in this next block of racing! :)

Speak to you soon,

The following is my race schedule for the year with my new team, Team Ton van Bemmelen-AA Drink:

Geelong International Women's Tour - Geelong
22nd Feb - Stage 1
23rd Feb - Stage 2
24th Feb - Stage 3

World Cup #1 - Geelong
27th Feb

Tour of New Zealand - Wellington
1st March - Stage 1
2nd March - Stage 2
3rd March - Stage 3

World Cup #2 - Wellington NZ
6th March


World Cup #4 - Belgium
3rd April

Novilon Internationale Damesronde Van Drenthe - Holland
8th - 10th April - 3day tour in Holland

Ronde Van Gelderland - Holland
16th April

GP de Wallonie - Belgium
17th April

World Cup #5 - Belgium
20th April

Gracia Orlova - Czech
28th April - 1stMay - 4 day tour in Czech

Vuelta a Castilla y Leon - Spain
4th - 6th May

World Cup #6 - Spain
8th May

Tour de L'Aude - France
12th - 22nd May - 11day Tour

Pavel Van de Veluwe - Holland
1st June

Omloop Middag Humsterland - Holland
4th June

Durango Emakumen Sarria - Spain
7th June

Emakumeen Bira - Spain
9th - 12th June - 4 day tour


Womens Cycling Tour of Germany - Germany
17th 24th July - 8 day tour

Training camp at altitude in Livigno
1st - 27th August

Holland Ladies Tour - Holland
29TH August - 3rd September - 6 day tour

World Cup # 10 - Holland
4th September

World Cup #11 - Germany
11th September

World Championships - Spain
21st Sep - Time Trial
24th Sep - Road Race

Sara Carrigan

In August last year, Sara Carrigan reached the pinnacle of her sporting career by winning the women's Olympic road race title in Athens. Turning professional for Team Ton van Bemmelen-AA Drink shortly afterwards, Australia's golden girl will be searching for similar success as a co-leader on one of the most powerful teams in women's cycling.