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Communication breakdown

June 11, 2008

Montréal Tour, stage two – June 3: Granby - Granby, 104km

What a day! Today was a rather stressful day – things could have gone a little better!

The panic started mid-race when I punctured my rear wheel. I was relaxed and I let our team car know (via race radio) that I'd punctured my rear wheel and I was going to pull over to the right side of the road…. The problem was - our race car was not receiving the information over the race radio and hadn't attempted to come forward.

I rode at the back of the group for a little bit with Trine (who was waiting with me), she offered me her wheel but I said no! Then, one of our younger riders, Lorena, rode passed and I made a huge mistake by asking her to stop and give me her wheel! My call cost her the opportunity to finish the race, as she never made it back to the group!

At this moment I had my rear wheel out of my bike and the Mavic neutral spares car arrived and started putting their rear wheel in my bike. Our team car had also just arrived and our Mechanic came running up with my wheel, a much better option and sure to run smoothly- so out with the Mavic spare and in with my specific spare race wheel.

The main bunch were moving fast when I punctured, we were just one kilometre from an intermediate sprint offering time bonuses; the bunch was at full speed and while we were changing my wheel there was a counter attack – the most dangerous breakaway of the race formed while we were stopped on the side of the road!

Trine started her amazing effort to take me back to the group. She did a six-kilometre solo effort, chasing a very aggressive bunch, my legs were burning just to hold Trine's wheel! Even though the chase was killing me I couldn't ask for a more valuable team-mate in that situation: Thanks Trine! I noticed on my polar data that Trine was chasing through the cars at 65-70km/hr… just to give you an idea of her strength!

Our team's efforts did not stop there, Nat Bates had dropped back to help Trine and I jumped the last 300m to the group on the slight climb. Nat and Trine then immediately went to the front of the bunch and helped some other teams chase back the dangerous break.

We had experienced a lot of miscommunication on the race radio already at this point of the race, but we were not aware of all the confusion until our somewhat heated debrief after the race.

I'd let our director know after the big chase that my new wheel was in my bike straight and that the gears were working fine, I also added that my legs were not so great… wondering if we'd change our race tactics. We had a few laps to go so there was a chance my legs would feel better before the sprint. Our director didn't get this info. As a team we continued with the plan.

The girls had managed to bring the race back together but it seemed like we had no time to relax before the final stressful break of seven slipped away – containing the eventual winner Judith Arndt.

Nat Bates got on the front and gave her final effort to chase, with half a lap to go Kori moved to the front and gave her all, and in the final few kilometres it was Trine again who closed the gap to the break – which Arndt had attacked and broken away from with a few kilometres to go. With a kilometre to go my team-mates had done all they could and it was time for me to move up and play sprinter. I put myself in the right position but unfortunately didn't have great power… The sprint result was the same as yesterday: Regina second, Oenone third and then me in fourth. Arndt had held her gap to take the win.

Everyone from our team did all they could physically do today; maybe we could have been a little smarter at times and maybe the result could have been different with less misfortune. In all, it was a pretty disappointing day and tomorrow can only be better!

Kori and Trine will enter the 3.5-kilometre time trial with high expectations!


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Rochelle Gilmore...