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The Olivia Gollan - Nürnberger Diary

Trixi Worrack (Nurnberger)

One second could mean second

By:
Cycling News
Published:
May 24, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 22, 2009, 20:31 BST

I had a t-shirt once that said this and I always thought I was so cool when I wore it. Thought it...

Tour de L'Aude Feminin, France, May 13-22, 2005

I had a t-shirt once that said this and I always thought I was so cool when I wore it. Thought it was a great statement about guts and "he who hesitates", and if you give everything you will not be disappointed. Yesterday proved me wrong - I am now glad I don't own that t-shirt anymore. All it means is that one second really can mean second!

Yesterday marked the finish of Tour d L'Aude - 10 days of tense racing where Nurnberger won four stages, the points jersey and in a brutal finish, saw Trixi Worrack come second on GC by less than one second. In a mountain top finish, Trixi had to put a minute and 12 seconds into Beutenport-FlexPoint rider Amber Neben to win the tour. She fell across the line with 1 minute and 11 seconds' advantage...

Life can throw some very low punches. After descending like a demon off the penultimate climb, Trixi climbed with everything she had to the finish, but with Mirjiam Melchers helping Amber, Trixi was just off the mark for the tour win. But it was a very impressive stage win!

Of course, the blue corner had an elaborate plan that we executed as best we could to help Trixi. The disappointment of yesterday was almost offset by the laughing and crying that Anche Wichman, Oenone Wood, Tina Liebig and I did as we crept up the two 15km climbs that marked the end of the tour. After giving all that we had left to set a decent pace into the final climbs we were all in a deep hole. Claudia Stumpf had a great day and managed to set the pace for Trixi for longer - this meant she didn't get to join our laughing bunch party. I am definitely sure we were not setting a cracking pace - but the suffering that was going on in the closing stages of our race was fairly comical considering poor Trixi put half an hour into us.

I must say that it has been a week of ups and downs for me personally. Good days and bad days - days where I had to explain the meaning of tits on a bull to my Euro team and days where I was floating. Surely some consistency is on its way? Tour de L'Aude is such a great race and it has been a game of poker this week. There were three very impressive stage wins from Oenone - who stole the yellow jersey for a day early in the piece. There was also another incredible time trial display from the Univega crew. Karin Thurig and Christian Soeder are very, very, very good in a chrono! The Americans were on form and Kristin Armstrong impressed me very much with her third place on GC - their team was instrumental in setting a cracking pace up the first climb yesterday.

So last night we celebrated at the traditional Banquet that the organiser puts on for riders, staff, volunteers and the other hangers. During the night I was very proud of Trixi for how much fun she had and how much smiling and laughing she did. The few glasses of wine probably helped but it was a mark of good sportmanship after such a tremendous disappointment. You can only try and give everything you have and whatever comes will come. Petra and Jens were great through the week, particularly yesterday when Petra knew every kilometre to help Trix get to the finish. Also our mechanic, Martin, and swanny, Julia, have a lot to be thanked for. Two weeks on the road with a group of demanding females is not easy.

This is starting to sound like an Oscars speech now so I'll sign off. Big congratulations to Amber and her team, it was an awesome race. I'm off to Montreal for the next World Cup on Sunday. Can the blue corner steal back the World Cup, Triko?

More soon,

Liv.

The going gets tough

By:
Cycling News
Published:
May 10, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

Well I can tell you now, sitting in a beachside hotel watching some bike race on Eurosport that's...

Castilla y Leon Tour and World Cup race, Spain, May 10, 2005

Well I can tell you now, sitting in a beachside hotel watching some bike race on Eurosport that's taking place in Italy at the moment is a hell of a lot easier on the body than racing myself. Not that I am complaining - it is the pain that makes it all worthwhile - isn't it?

On Sunday in Vallodolid, Spain, the sixth round of the women's road World Cup was won by Beutenport Flex Point rider and former world champion, Sussane Lungskog. After a superhuman effort from Nurnberger rider and current world champion, Judith Arndt, the final sprint was so close that no one could tell us who had won. There were no victory salutes - just desperate throws for the line from both riders. After chasing Van Bemmelen rider Theresa Senff for over 30km, Judith was the first Nurnberger to jump with an attack from Nicole Brandli, and Lungskog was right there as well. This group of three stayed away on the 7km finishing circuit for three laps and were joined by world championship silver medallist, Italian rider Tatiana Guderzo (Fassa Bortolo/Top Girls).

With our World Cup leader Oenone Wood, sprinter Regina Schliecher and the little one, Trixi Worrack, in a chase group that was thinning out by the minute, it was a real game. Judith had done so much early, and was clearly not the girl for the break, but her determination and sheer ability to suffer saw her finish second by centimetres. It is just the way racing goes sometimes. It is such lottery, and it's so hard to be in the right place at the right time all of the time. But the whole World Cup series is now a real battle between teams, as Lungskog now holds the Jersey - we should relish the challenge, because it is anybody's race. Canada is next - that Montreal circuit should be a breeze.

Nurnberger's second place yesterday comes off the back of two wins - Gracia in the Czech Republic and the Castilla y Leon Tour in Spain. So we are on a high heading into Tour de L'Aude this week and hopefully we can hold our own in France. Without the world champion we will still be a strong team, with Trixi Worrack, Anche Wickman, Oenone Wood, Claudia Stumpf, Tina Liebig and yours truly. Despite not finishing the world cup yesterday I am slowly feeling like a bike rider again and looking forward to the racing in France. Not looking forward to the French Cuisine, but I have a trusty bottle of sweet chilli sauce to liven up the taste buds. With two prologue-type races and a time trial, so it'll be a real battle of mountains and time trials. 10 days of head games and team work!

Spain was a tough tour and there are some really fit girls around at the moment. A great ride from Theresa Senff on Sunday - staying away for so long with such a strong chase on her heels was very impressive. Last year I was sprinting against her for the mountains jersey in L'Aude. I don't think I am up for that battle this year but you never know.

Oh yeah, and I am the newly appointed president of the CPA (no, not the accountants) - a group formed to lobby the UCI for better conditions, insurance, racing and prize money for women. Not sure about how I will perform but it is cool to be considered worthy.

More from France soon,

Liv.

The blue corner does it in Italy

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 30, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

On a day when Italy celebrates its liberation from Germany after World War II, a German sprinter who...

'Post-Liberazione', Italy, April 30, 2005

On a day when Italy celebrates its liberation from Germany after World War II, a German sprinter who has made Italy her home won a bike race called "Liberazione" - held in honour of the Italian national day. The blue corner claimed two victories last weekend - the important Bunderslieger race on Sunday was won by Trixi Worrack in Queidersbach, Germany, and the race in Italy won by Regina Schliecher. Not World Cups by any stretch, but victories all the same. The smile on Regina's face was worth the drive to Crema! And the best thing was that I think all three of us (Oenone, Regina and myself) had a great time achieving this result. Barring the Australian contingent the rest of the blue corner are racing in the Czech Republic this week and I am currently waiting to hear how the team performed day one. Next week we head for Spain for some serious action - the next World Cup.

Me? Well for those interested I am in Italy kicking back and enjoying some sunshine and a few rides without leg warmers. All of the pro women are currently gathered in Novellara for a screening camp and most importantly an opportunity to catch up with "Wazza". Warren MacDonald is the current AIS and National Women's coach. He is responsible for countless Aussie women trying to get on the podium in Europe - and he is exceptionally good at his job. Who would be mad enough to coach so many women and deal with the emotional baggage that goes along with it? This man is a saint, to say the least. I would be lost without the support he has given me in the past few months when everything hasn't gone my way. In a very "quiet achiever" kind of way he manages to make a difference - grazie Waz. Juggling acts are hard, especially when you are in a foreign country and you are responsible for the well being of people.

So, this weekend we are off to Switzerland for the Magali Pache time trial in Lausanne. When I say "we" I mean seven Australians and seven other international riders. For Australia it is an important selection race for the World Championship time trial and with a really good result at this race you can earn yourself a spot on the squad for the Commonwealth Games. The pressure is on for a time trial over a very challenging course that will certainly tell us who is in form and not. After motor pacing this morning I am feeling pretty good so will be interested to see if my recent spate of dismal performances can be improved upon. At the very least it will be a good hit out before Spain and I will have a very special new bike to ride.

It has been really good to be in Italy again and see some familiar territory and faces. The people of Novellara embrace the Australians here and though they often wonder about our tendancy to go barefoot, our love of asian food and our obsession with their gelati I think they like having us around. Thanks for having us!

PS: Just heard that Judith won the first stage of Grazia Tour in Czech - awesome.

Liv.

A bad day for the authorities and my team!

By:
Cycling News
Published:
April 06, 2005, 1:00 BST,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

As we drove to the start of Ronde de Flanderen yesterday we all reflected on the disasters that fell...

2nd Women's Ronde van Vlaanderen - Belgium, April 3, 2005

As we drove to the start of Ronde de Flanderen yesterday we all reflected on the disasters that fell on us last year. Oenone crashed and had to have a bike change early in the race - it took the AIS team about 20km to sort that one out! Judith crashed, broke a rib and had to abandon the race. Regina crashed and ended up with a massive cut on her leg and had to abandon the race. BUT - Trixi had finished on the podium so there was hope.

I am not really the woman who should be writing this piece if we want to read a story about the 'business end' of the bike race. I can tell you some interesting details about what happened in the 'hoop group' and about a sky high heart rate that never seemed to want to come down and about those girls who always seem think it worthwhile to attack the last group to finish 70th. It was really not a good day for me but I am looking on the bright side - it is beautiful weather here in Frankfurt today.

The disaster that befell us yesterday was thankfully not a crash or injury. The second group of around 20 riders - including Oenone Wood, Trixi Worrack, Nicole Cooke and many other big names were directed the wrong way less than 2km from the finish. Mirjiam Melchers and Sussane Ljungskog were clear of the main field and were directed the right way only 30 seconds or so before. They were the deserved winners of the race - a classy ride from both of them. BUT, what of third place? According to the results page the world cup leader abandoned the race with less than 2km to go and an Italian girl Monia Baccialle finished third in a group that was a minute behind Oenone and Trixi's group.

You can imagine the disbelief in our camp. How does this happen in a world cup race? According to UCI regulations the riders must know the way and it is their responsibility if they end up on the wrong road. But, when five people in red vests stand in front of you pointing in a certain direction you tend to believe that they know what they are talking about. If we all had to memorise every street for the 80 or more races we attend each year there would be no time to train. The blame for yesterday lies somewhere and I don't think it is with the riders. Regardless of the rules there were people directing traffic and they directed 20 women up for a podium finish in a world cup the wrong way.

There are a group of people from the UCI fighting very hard at the moment to make our sport a better thing all round. It is very encouraging to think that there is now an element of protection for the women riding as professional cyclists and a body of people looking out for our safety and well being. It is really disheartening when something like yesterday happens because it makes our sport look less professional and it makes us all look a bit foolish. Especially when our race was showcased against the men's yesterday - a great opportunity for us to get some exposure and then this disaster! It is a great shame but we can just try to keep going forward.

Perhaps there is a lesson in all of this - don't laugh at the girls attacking the last group because you never know what has happened up ahead. You could be up for a world cup victory. And I think I heard Mirjiam say to a journalist that we were lucky to win in San Remo? Maybe I didn't hear that right but hopefully we will have some more luck in Fleche Wallone in a couple of weeks. But for yesterday, well done mate. I know how good you are on a course like that!

OG

A huge weekend for Nürnberger

By:
Cycling News
Published:
March 22, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

It has been a really big couple of weeks for the blue corner. Meeting the rest of the team in Lido...

7th Primavera Rosa - World Cup - Italy, March 19, 2005

It has been a really big couple of weeks for the blue corner. Meeting the rest of the team in Lido di Camaiore (Tuscany, Italy) after a marathon journey from New Zealand, we settled in for some training before Primavera Rosa. Though the odds seemed stacked against us with sickness, jet lag and general lack of sleep, we were so well looked after by our staff and the hotel staff that life wasn't so bad. Actually, it was great. We got new bikes, lots of new kit, great food and heaps of attention from a bus load of sponsors and journalists who travelled down from Germany for a weekend of photos, interviews and entertaining. I am really getting used to this 'profie' action!

A group of healthy and well-rested Nurnbergers raced in Italy last Sunday and though for some of them it was a shock to the system - first race of the season - from all accounts they had fun and were happy with the day. Oenone was with the front group up the climb into the finish but fell victim to another crash with 300m to go. Nicole Cooke took line honours from Nicole Brandli and Modesta Vesniauskiate. At least it was a good training day and we got an indication of who is firing early season.

So after a week of good training we headed towards San Remo for the big one. How cool was it to come across the line and see the smile on Trixi's face? Extremely cool. I am pretty sure we have the whole peleton guessing now - and that is even cooler. We didn't even get to celebrate first (Trixi), third (Oenone) and fourth (Regina) last night because we were all travelling in different directions, but we were relishing the moment as we watched Petacchi's victory salute.

Primavera Rosa is a race like no other. It seems like everyone is so nervous, desperate and keen to "win at all costs" that the bunch has this weird feeling of tension. You fly along the flat in front of the water and so many girls fight for first wheel. There are the chancers who attack from the gun - Anche Wichmann and I were in charge of keeping these moves in check. There wasn't a lot of action early but plenty of people who got a 50m gap before the speed of the bunch picked them up again. Corners into towns seem to appear out of nowhere, road works are everywhere and traffic islands seem plentiful - all of this makes the race feel bizarre for some reason. There is something surreal about this race that makes the win seem elusive but at the same time romantic.

With Suzanne De Goeda not far off the overall World Cup lead, the Tom Van Bemelen team were keeping the pace high for the most part of the race. Rochelle Gilmore was looking after herself and was unlucky to puncture before the bottom of the Cipressa (5km climb at the 90km mark) but the aggression from the climbers in the group was always going to make it hard for the two winners of the first rounds. With about 5km to go before the bottom of the Cipressa I was thankfully at the back of the bunch looking to get a feed when a crash left our World Cup leader on her backside in the middle of the road. We chased back on and got to the front of the bunch before the climb. It was then all over for me, really, but I didn't feel too bad up the climb and managed to stay with the third group that included a lot of the sprinters Suzanne De Goeda, Katia Longhin and Giorgia Bronzini until the finish.

From the bottom of the Cipressa, Svetlana Boubnenkova, in her new disco silver kit with "BUBA" written across the backside, attacked, and from there the aggression started. By the top of the climb, 'Buba', Nicole Brandli and Taminini had a gap, and while Oenone was with them at the start of the descent she quickly realised that staying upright was more important. By the time I got down the descent there were bodies everywhere - lots of desperate girls taking risks to win this grand prize. Buba looked really bad and I haven't heard if she is ok - I'm hoping no news is good news.

From the bottom of the descent of the Cipressa until the start of the final climb (Poggio) there is about 8km; Edita Puckinskaite attacked just before the bottom of the Poggio and Lorenzoni attacked on the climb. Teh it was time for Nicole Brandli to attack which led to more attcks towards the top, with Nicole Cooke and Italian Tatiana Guderzo having a go. Judith (Arndt) chased Guderzo to the crest of the climb, and down the descent Brandli, Oenone and Tamini were the front runners.

Into the finish Judith started to lead out with Trixi, Oenone and Regina all there. Around the second last corner, after Judith had swung up, Trixi got a gap and won the crazy race! Oenone and Regina were out-sprinted by Nicole Cooke but it didn't matter - we had won.

I am now in my new home in Frankfurt and about to go for a ride on a gorgeous spring day. We have the team's presentation next week and a couple of weeks to prepare for Flanders. More soon,

Liv.

We come bike races to win...

By:
Cycling News
Published:
March 07, 2005, 0:00 GMT,
Updated:
April 21, 2009, 11:55 BST

My Dad is an avid rugby fan, so from a very young age I have watched in awe as the All Blacks let...

1st Wellington World Cup - CDM New Zealand, March 6, 2005

My Dad is an avid rugby fan, so from a very young age I have watched in awe as the All Blacks let rip with the Maori Haka before every international match. Yesterday in Wellington a group of locals in traditional dress laid down the challenge for the women's peloton before the start of the second round of the world cup. I felt very privileged to have this ceremony performed for me before a race - I reckon my Dad was a tad jealous when I told him about it on the phone afterwards. I also reckon the Europeans were a bit perplexed by the whole event - especially the glaring eyes and tongues.

Then it was on. 20 laps of a 6.2km circuit with two climbs and 13 corners - with the World Cup lead up for grabs and a lot of kiwis wanting a win on home soil there was a plenty of aggression in the air. My job was made clear in the team meeting the day before - go with the break. I missed the bloody thing and before we knew it there were seven riders down the road and at one stage they managed to get nearly a four minute break. Miho Oki, Katie Brown, Tania Hennes, Silvia Valsecchi, Michelle Hyland and Johanna Buick. The course was so hard, and the race still had a long way to go, so we hedged our bets and trusted that it would only be a matter of time before the wind, the hills and the kilometres took their toll on the breakaway group. Anche Wichmann and Madeleine Lindberg had great rides - both getting much further through the race than I think they expected to, especially with the bout of "bad stomach" Madeleine suffered most of the week and the wounds Anche incurred during last week's World Cup event. I was sitting in the bunch cursing myself for not doing my job - especially because I was actually feeling good on the bike for the first time in months.

A few teams were obviously starting to get nervous and as soon as the pace increased we put over 30 seconds into the front group in half a lap - their days were obviously numbered. The Queensland Academy of Sport team were doing a lot of chasing, and to their credit Jenny MacPherson, who was riding with them for the week, managed fifth place. The Ton Van Bemmelen team were pretty active as well, and in a very short time we had the front group in sight. At this stage of the race for me it was a lot of getting dropped and somehow making it back to the peloton. I would bust myself to get to the front and try to achieve something before getting dropped again. I was pleased with my ride, though - Helen Kelly told me I looked like a different rider than I did a week ago. Hopefully things are coming together. Then Judith [Arndt] attacked for the second of many times and there was no more getting back on for me.

This was a series of onslaughts that came not only from Judith and Trixi but from Nat Bates, Sara Carrigan and Susanne Ljungskog. The race was splintering and some big names were suffering. Mirjam Melchers pulled out of the race with about two laps to go, and Rochelle Gilmore had survived much longer than I think she expected but was showing signs of cracking. Good ride from her and her AIS support crew none the less - defending that jersey is no easy task. I haven't really done a great job of investigating exactly what transpired in the closing stages of the race and all of my team mates are currently sleeping on a plane right now but as far as I can gather it was the final attack from Ton Van Bemmelen rider Susanne De Goede that broke the field. Buitenpoort-Flexpoint rider Linda Serup managed to go with Susanne and with the world champion chasing with everything she had left they were strong enough to stay away. Susanne sprinted and won by a few bike lengths - about 20 seconds in front of Oenone's group. A fourth place for her left her in the jersey though, so not really a bad day for Nürnberger.

We go to bike races to win but I was still really proud to be part of Nürnberger yesterday. It didn't go to plan but I really think we were beaten by a very strong girl on the day - we gave everything and have come away with the jersey. Not a bad end to a week in Windy Wellington, and apart from gusts that threatened to blow us all off the road, this has been a great week The Tour and World Cup organisers had some teething problems, but the absolute hospitality and dedication to the bike race was second to none. We Australians could learn a few things from the Kiwis, and let's hope we are all back in Wellington next year.

Author
The Olivia Gollan - Nürnberger Diary

Olivia's Equipe Nürnberger Team is proudly sponsored by: A stalwart of the AIS women's team for the last few years, Olivia Gollan turned pro in 2005 with the top German Nürnberger Versicherung team, which has also signed fellow Aussie Oenone Wood. Follow Oliva's escapades through her exclusive diary on Cyclingnews.