A perfect race to finish Canadian campaign

June 20, 2007

Judith continues the fun and embarrassment by managing to 'self-crash' while soloing away in the Montreal World Cup race, but finishes on a high after the Montreal Tour

My most recent racing has been in Montreal, Canada. First up were the World Cup race and then the Tour of Montreal afterwards.

It's actually one of my favourite events on the schedule, but this year we were a bit unlucky with the weather. I am definitely a sunshine rider and don't like to be wet and covered in dirt. Probably because I have my roots in track racing ...

Anyway, this is certainly not the right place to talk about the weather and especially not when I can talk about victories instead ...

The La Coupe du Monde Cycliste Féminine de Montréal, to give the World Cup race its full name, was a different race this year. They had moved the finish-line from the top of the climb to a main road 500 metres away from the bottom of the climb, which changed the race tactics significantly.

Our plan at T-Mobile was to create a small group during the last time up the climb that included Oenone (Wood, team rider) and I; then my job was to put in a solo attack after the descent and leave Oenone to set up for a possible sprint. This plan (almost) worked out perfectly, except that two riders (Fabiana Luperini and Mara Abbott) had escaped pretty early in the race, and we couldn't get them back. So they batttled it out and Luperini - as the more experienced rider - took a well-deserved win. (Ed: Judith won here last year.)

I finished solo for third place, and to entertain the spectators a little bit, I crashed all by myself in the last corner with only 300 metres to go. Serious now, I don't know what happened. I couldn't see a reason to crash, but I did. My adrenaline helped me to be faster on the bike and make up for the time it took me to fall down, and with a nice push from the team director from the Pasta Safi team, I fortunately made it home before the next group could catch me. How embarrassing would that have been!?

After the WC we had one day off. I felt a little bit like I would get sick, so I stayed almost the whole day in my room, lying on the bed, playing with my computer and watching the walls.

The Le Tour du Grand Montréal was, all in all, pretty hard, due to the weather conditions, the late starts, the traffic jams to get to the stages, and on top of it all, the nerve-wracking battle for bonus seconds throughout the whole tour.

There were no climbs in the tour to create major time differences between the riders and only a 3km time trial, where you can't win or lose that much time, either.

So we tried to set up Kate (Bates, team rider) to earn bonus seconds during the stages, and for Oenone to get bonuses in the final sprints of each stage. It turned out to be a race between Team Nuernberger and us (T-Mobile), since they kind of had the same plan with Trixi Worrack and Regina Schleicher.

Schleicher won the first two stages ahead of Oenone, but lost too much time in the time trial. Oenone had time-trialed well enough to take over the yellow jersey a few seconds ahead of Worrack. With Kate and I sitting third and fourth we had the best possible tactical situation and were quite confident of keeping Oenone in her yellow dress until the end of the tour.

The criterium in Little Italy as stage 4 is always a highlight in this tour. There's a huge crowd watching us, and the atmosphere is just very cool. Before we got called to the line, there was a four-lap race for the team directors and staff members. They were really serious about it! I thought it was funny and hoped nobody would crash, because everybody was so determined to win! Anna didn't warm up enough to get involved in the final sprint, but at least she got a little bit of colour into her face.

The crit itself was very hard and featured a few serious-looking crashes. My job was to attack to take bonus seconds away and put Nürnberger under pressure. It worked out well, and Oenone even took the stage win at the end over Worrack. So a very successful day took its end in a nice Italian restaurant directly on the course, where we, as smart as it gets, had pre-ordered our dinners.

The last stage went very well for us, too. Although Worrack won the first bonus sprint ahead of Oenone, we didn't get nervous and had all under control. Anke (Wichmann) and Chantal (Beltman) did almost all work during the stage, so there wasn't much left to do for Kate (Bates) and I.

Oenone showed her incredible strength when she outsprinted Worrack for the stage win again in an uphill finish. With Kate in third on GC and on the podium as well, plus the win in the team general classification, we were very happy. A perfect race: that was what we were looking for, and here it was!

So now I am home again in Germany. After five days of ignoring my bike, yesterday I started preparation for the German national time trials championships, to be held on Sunday week.

The second half of the season is coming, and I am looking forward to the Giro d'Italia Femminile (July 6 - 15, 2007) for the first time in my career!

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