Internationale Thurigen Rundfahrt der Frauen: Stage 3

23 Jul

Statistics:

Start time: 1:45pm

Distance: 140km

Start Location: Schleiz, Germany

End Location: Schleiz, Germany

Race Time: 3hours 45minutes

Average Speed: 38kph

Altitude Gained: 3750feet

The Course:

Today was another wet race.  The terrain wasn’t as hard as yesterday’s. The climbs weren’t as steep or as frequent.  However, the elements caused lots of suffering.  We made one big loop, and then a small loop near the finish.  The final 3km were somewhat technical.  There was a short climb, followed by a fast, wet descent.  Then there were some corners, leading into the final corner which was 150meters to the finish.

The Race:

The beginning of the race was very painful.  It started raining, which caused a nervous peloton.  Throw in some wind, cobbles, and descents, and you have a strung out peloton.  I covered some attacks before the first GPM, and got shuffled back into the peloton when things really hit the fan.  I struggled to hold my position near the front and kept having to close gaps.  In the meantime, Adrie and Ina were taking turns attacking at the front.  Eventually, Adrie’s attack stuck.  She was in a break of ten riders.  HiTech controlled the front after this.  On one of the climbs, three riders escaped the field.  Shortly after, Judith tried to bridge.  She stopped, as some of the G.C. threats had followed her.  Moments later, towards the top of a climb, I attacked and took two non-G.C. threats with me.  We bridged to the other three and worked to get to the front ten.  The break was about 45 seconds in front of the field, so it didn’t take us long to close the gap.  Once we made contact, the time increased.  It hovered around 2 minutes the rest of the race.  For the most part, the break was organized.  Some riders were sitting on at times, but with a majority of the people working, it was bound to stick.  Pretty much every team was represented and there were no threats to the G.C.  HiTec kept things in check back in the bunch.  Teammate and G.C. rider Amber Neben was kept safe in the bunch and well looked after by Ina, Chloe, and Judith.  The break included the following riders: Adrie Visser and myself (HTC-Highroad), Lizzie Armistead and Sharon Laws (Garmin-Cervelo), Ruth Corset and Jessie Maclean (Australia), Denise Ramsden and Veronique Labonte (Juvederm-Specialized), Monia Baccaille (SC MCipollini Giordana), Sara Mustonen (HiTec), Trixi Worrack (AA Drink), Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss), Romy Kasper (Kuota), Sarah Duster (Nederland Bloeit), Irina Molitcheva (Russia), and Claire Thomas (Horizon Fitness).  Adrie and I knew that we had some tough competition to sprint against if it came down to a sprint finish.  Lots of attacks went off in the last 10km.  Adrie and I took turns covering attacks and following wheels.  We came into the final climb with lots of speed.  This seemed to take away opportunities for people to attack.  The pace was high towards the top of the climb, but we all came over it together.  From here, it was a technical, wet descent.  Adrie was in good position, sitting top three.  I was a few riders back.  Sharon Laws was on the front keeping the pace high for her teammate, Armistead.  With around 300 meters to go, I attacked and got a gap.  The reason I attacked was because the pace had started to slow.  I saw Adrie in a good position for the sprint, so I went hoping to throw things off a bit and draw out some of the other sprinters.  I figured if I got caught, Adrie was in a good position to sprint for the win.  Things played out a bit differently than they did in my head, but it was for the better.  I turned the final right hand corner with 150 meters to go and still had the lead.  I dug as deep as I could and came across the line first!  So exciting!  It was very cool to watch the race unfold.  The team rode amazing all day.  We accomplished all of our goals and sit in a very good position for the upcoming days.  The peloton came across the line 2minutes 20seconds behind the break.  Amber finished the day still in 2nd place G.C., seven seconds behind Emma Johansson.  Three more hard days coming up!

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