After what has seemed like an endless spring (or winter...) the cycling calendar in Norway only started this past weekend with the National Cup in my home town Sandnes.
I don’t need to say. But it is always special to race in your home town.
You want to show yourself and your team for the public. And when you know that main sponsor, Hitec Products, is located some 10 km from the finish line, one can appreciate that this opening race was one we, The Hitec Products team, really wanted to show that we have the best team in Norway.
The difference on national and international UCI races is big. Not just in the level and number of participants — approximately 40 starters in Norway compared to the 180 my other teammates faced in the Netherlands the same weekend — but also how we are accommodated.
This weekend, the Hitec girls stayed in my parent’s house and at my place. So, it was also a social weekend as well as racing weekend, helping to build on the strong bonds between the girls which we’ve been developing since training camp in January.
After the tough races in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy there is one thing we have really come to appreciate — and enjoy — working for each other. Which we did especially well at this first Norwegian Cup.
We got everything over the weekend of racing. Thea Thorsen won the ITT on the Saturday, and Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen the road race on Sunday.
We really showed off the team. Halfway through the race, after some collective speed surges, we got Cecilie in a breakaway with two more girls where we knew that Cecilie was the strongest sprinter.
The peloton never caught them, and in the bunch sprint for the minor places we took the three top spots as well. We ended with first place, fourth (Emilie Moberg) , fifth (Thea Thorsen) and myself sixth. In addition, Siri Minge made her debut in the Hitec jersey after injury this spring.
So in the next round we have a yellow jersey to defend! And we can’t wait! We’re a Norwegian team after all and want to do well in our National Cup, while also helping to build the women’s cycling team in the country!