Gerolsteiner's Ronny Scholz was very happy with the Criterium International, where he finished fifth overall (see above), but you might not believe it when you read his website, www.ronnyscholz.de. He describes how the breakaway group, of which he was a part in the first stage, rode through "the bad weather and especially strong wind," struggling to stay ahead of the peloton. After the penultimate climb, "those of us left in the group kept on going, to try and keep as much of our advantage as possible," although the group no longer worked together. "In such a situation, the only thing to do is go all out as long as possible, because usually the group breaks up and you can only stay with the first group if you really work."
On the last climb, the race was decided. "On the last descent, Erik Dekker really took the full risk and just flew down the mountain. I was a little more scared of it and took something out. That's probably why I couldn't stay with the leaders. I'm still satisfied to have finished within the top ten, but I'm still a little irritated with myself that I didn't take more risks in the descent."
Bernhard Kohl, of T-Mobile, didn't finish as high the GC, but was satisfied with his 18th place. "A top 20 result in a 'training' race is not bad," he writes on bernhardkohl.at. The second stage "was all up and down, but I could more or less stay with the best on the mountain. I wasn't entirely in the front, but I was in the first chasing group. The race was really planned just for training purposes and I was positively surprised by my performance."
One thing that pleased none of the riders was the early start on Sunday. To make matters worse, daylight savings time started in Europe that morning, so that the riders had to get up even earlier. "The day started very early," Kohl said. Scholz noted the second stage was due to start at 8:40, "which because of the change to daylight savings time will feel like 7:40." It was especially difficult for his teammate Rene Haselbacher: "We had to get up at 6 a.m., that didn't please me at all!" (www.haselbacher.com)