The going gets tough

Castilla y Leon Tour and World Cup race, Spain, May 10, 2005

Well I can tell you now, sitting in a beachside hotel watching some bike race on Eurosport that's taking place in Italy at the moment is a hell of a lot easier on the body than racing myself. Not that I am complaining - it is the pain that makes it all worthwhile - isn't it?

On Sunday in Vallodolid, Spain, the sixth round of the women's road World Cup was won by Beutenport Flex Point rider and former world champion, Sussane Lungskog. After a superhuman effort from Nurnberger rider and current world champion, Judith Arndt, the final sprint was so close that no one could tell us who had won. There were no victory salutes - just desperate throws for the line from both riders. After chasing Van Bemmelen rider Theresa Senff for over 30km, Judith was the first Nurnberger to jump with an attack from Nicole Brandli, and Lungskog was right there as well. This group of three stayed away on the 7km finishing circuit for three laps and were joined by world championship silver medallist, Italian rider Tatiana Guderzo (Fassa Bortolo/Top Girls).

With our World Cup leader Oenone Wood, sprinter Regina Schliecher and the little one, Trixi Worrack, in a chase group that was thinning out by the minute, it was a real game. Judith had done so much early, and was clearly not the girl for the break, but her determination and sheer ability to suffer saw her finish second by centimetres. It is just the way racing goes sometimes. It is such lottery, and it's so hard to be in the right place at the right time all of the time. But the whole World Cup series is now a real battle between teams, as Lungskog now holds the Jersey - we should relish the challenge, because it is anybody's race. Canada is next - that Montreal circuit should be a breeze.

Nurnberger's second place yesterday comes off the back of two wins - Gracia in the Czech Republic and the Castilla y Leon Tour in Spain. So we are on a high heading into Tour de L'Aude this week and hopefully we can hold our own in France. Without the world champion we will still be a strong team, with Trixi Worrack, Anche Wickman, Oenone Wood, Claudia Stumpf, Tina Liebig and yours truly. Despite not finishing the world cup yesterday I am slowly feeling like a bike rider again and looking forward to the racing in France. Not looking forward to the French Cuisine, but I have a trusty bottle of sweet chilli sauce to liven up the taste buds. With two prologue-type races and a time trial, so it'll be a real battle of mountains and time trials. 10 days of head games and team work!

Spain was a tough tour and there are some really fit girls around at the moment. A great ride from Theresa Senff on Sunday - staying away for so long with such a strong chase on her heels was very impressive. Last year I was sprinting against her for the mountains jersey in L'Aude. I don't think I am up for that battle this year but you never know.

Oh yeah, and I am the newly appointed president of the CPA (no, not the accountants) - a group formed to lobby the UCI for better conditions, insurance, racing and prize money for women. Not sure about how I will perform but it is cool to be considered worthy.

More from France soon,


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Olivia's Equipe Nürnberger Team is proudly sponsored by: A stalwart of the AIS women's team for the last few years, Olivia Gollan turned pro in 2005 with the top German Nürnberger Versicherung team, which has also signed fellow Aussie Oenone Wood. Follow Oliva's escapades through her exclusive diary on Cyclingnews.