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By Bjorn Haake in Gent Priska Doppmann won the Grande Boucle Féminine in 2005 and finished second to...
By Bjorn Haake in Gent
Priska Doppmann won the Grande Boucle Féminine in 2005 and finished second to Nicole Cooke last year. Now, the Swiss rider is eager to get back on top of the podium. A day before the start of the 2008 race, she sent a clear message to Cooke that a third victory in a row will not be uncontested. "I always want to win!" she explained. She draws the confidence from her own strength, but also emphasised, "We have a strong team."
Indeed, she wouldn't put it past any of her Cervélo Lifeforce team-mates to be the one taking the overall in the end. "If I am not in a position to win myself, I hope somebody from my team will be there." She particularly thought that the long time trial on Friday, 40.1 kilometres from Domaine de Chalain to Clairvaux-les-Lacs, could be a good day to make a difference. "It's a long time trial and there can be large gaps. I think Karin [Thührig] has good chances there." In addition, if the lead is big enough Thührig may be able to hang on in the two mountain stages that follow.
The first few days are likely to be treacherous, with the cobbles in the Belgian and French stages, but Doppmann is not afraid. "No, I don't fear the cobbles," instead just eager to get going.
Nonetheless, the rest of the terrain will still be more to her liking. Naturally, the Swiss rider said she enjoys "the mountains and the lakes. France is really beautiful."
The final two stages, though, will offer a bit of suffering that is different from hanging out at a lake in over 2,000 metres of altitude. However, Doppmann is ready for the fight.