Race Overview and Write-up

Trust House Women's Cycle Tour & World Cup Round 2

2 March - 4 March 


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World Cup Round 2 - Rider pre-race interviews

Many thanks to all of the riders and their teams who took time out during their Saturday to speak with Womens Cycling.net on the eve of the second World Cup race of the 2005 season in Wellington, New Zealand.

The press conference was cancelled for logistical reasons, but the race organisers and teams were happy to provide one-to-one interviews at the race hotel. This was in Lower Hutt, just across the Bay from Wellington City, where the World Cup will take place on Sunday 6th February. For the riders, it was a case of making the effort to speak to WomensCycling.net in-between a recovery ride, showers, massage and food before resting-up for the big race on Sunday.

Here's what they said :   

click here to jump to

 the chat with >>>  

Rochelle Gilmore  Oenone Wood  Olivia Gollan Tina Pic
 Joanne Kiesanowski  Trixi Worrack  Mirjam Melchers van Poppel  Judith Arndt


Rochelle Gilmore - current leader of the 2005 World Cup  IMG_7903.jpg (30519 bytes)

WCN : How have you felt this week in the NZ Tour?

RG : I felt strong, but its really been about training. Up until February, I've only been out doing 1 hour recovery rides.

WCN : Is that because you've been concentrating on track-work?

RG : Yes, that's right

WCN : Has it sunk in that you are leading the World Cup and defending the jersey tomorrow?

RG : Not really, I'm excited about wearing it, but I'm not sure whether I will hold onto it tomorrow, the course is quite hilly and I don't climb well.

WCN : You are in a different team tomorrow, compared to Geelong (from NSWIS to AIS), is it the plan that they will help you to defend the jersey?

RG : At our meeting this morning, it is still undecided, I'm not sure if they'll be working for me or for their own individual places (all World Cup races have UCI points on offer, which can be valuable to individuals) 

WCN : Will the weather play a part in tomorrow's race?

RG : I don't think it will have any impact on us on the climbs, but on the main run through Wellington (The descent of The Terrace) the wind may have a funnelling effect.

WCN : What about the rest of your season, you return to Europe to join your pro team, Team Safi soon. If you are in the Leader's jersey after tomorrow, will they support you to defend it?

RG:  I think they definitely will. I know there's a couple of races in the middle of the year that Nicole Cooke wants to go for and that was prearranged before I got the jersey and we'll stick with that plan. They're races where I'll help her - Fleche Wallone would be one and of course, she is keen to win the Giro again and I'd love to help her try and win that. For sure, Primavera Rosa (World Cup Round 3)  will be interesting, depending how my (series) points are after tomorrow and decide whether we'll use her to get away on the last few climbs or whether she'll hang back to help me. That'll be decided after today and when I get back. I have finished 3rd before in Primavera, it depends how my climbing legs are and whether I've got good form.

WCN: What about the race organiser's promise of a very tough race?

RG: Certainly there'll be a lot people who don't finish. I just want to hang in there as long as possible and get to the finish in the top 20. 


IMG_79521.jpg (21469 bytes)  Mirjam Melchers van Poppel - Team Leader of the new Buitenpoort-Flexpoint team and consistent World Cup finisher in 2004, 4th overall  

WCN : How was the NZ Tour for you?

MMvP : It was pretty challenging, last week were in Australia and then travelled here for the stage race, but I've had enough rest now, so let tomorrow come! 

WCN: It was very windy last week, coming from the Netherlands, you must be used to such conditions, did that help you?

MMvP: Actually I've never come across such wind in my life as we saw in stage two, I think half the peleton was blown off the road - that's not so normal for Holland! I think also that it will be a factor for tomorrow, along with the short circuit which has a lot of corners - I think its going to be tough.

WCN : What are your team's tactics for tomorrow?

MMvP: I don't know, we only have a team of 4 here (regulations allow up to 6 per team) we will have to play it clever. It depends on how things go in the race. Susanne Ljungskog is  someone else who is good to have in the race for places tomorrow. It will depend who has good form and is feeling strong - the hills are not long tomorrow, but steep.

WCN: Who will be the main competition?

MMvP: The Australians have good chances and the New Zealanders are riding strongly. I think the race will be different to Geelong, its not likely to be a bunch sprint, so it will be a different race. I think there will be different people at the front, but I expect Oenone Wood, who's in really good shape, and the Nürnbergers, plus the Australians and the New Zealanders are all strong. The kiwis are good uphill and are used to the wind. Plus, I hope our team is there for the final sprint too.

WCN : This is a long season, do you take a break at all?

MMvP: I will have a break in the middle of the season, it depends on the calendar. I want to ride the first World Cups in Europe - Italy and the Tour of Flanders, the Fleche Wallone, but you have to take a break, take it easy for a while. To have form at the end of the season - August, the World Championships, you have to take time out. 

WCN: Are you pleased with the way the new team is coming together?

MMvP : Yes, we only have four riders here, but we have 10 overall. We have a mix of riders for stage races (time triallists and so on) and for one-day races. It is looking good and I have a lot of confidence in the team.


Oenone Wood - IMG_7970.jpg (26012 bytes)

2004 World Cup Champion, reigning Australian criterium & TT champion

WCN : How was last week for you? 

OW : We went for individual stage wins in the NZ Tour, rather than overall performances, so it was a good training week leading into the World Cup.

WCN: How was your time trial performance?

ON : I wanted to have a bit of a 'hit-out' but not hurt my legs for Sunday and I think I achieved that, which I'm happy about.

WCN : How is Team Nürnberger coming together? You've had 2 weeks of racing together now in 2005.

OW: Its going to be really good, we're have a great time and I think its going to get better and better. 

WCN: How do you feel about tomorrow's race?

OW : I've had a look at the two hills and I think its going to be really hard. I'm looking forward to it. 

WCN: Do you agree with the Race Director's prediction that the race will come down to a few riders at the end?

OW: Absolutely, there's just too many hills in it for it not to be a hard race. I think there's a big diversity in the bunch - there's some who have only just started cycling and some others who are really experienced, so I'd be very surprised if there's a large bunch at the finish.

WCN : Are you planning to defend your (overall, 2004) jersey this year?

OW : We'll be going for a win tomorrow and I think if you race each World Cup racing to win, then you'll be up there anyway.

WCN: Are there any key races for Nürnberger this year?

OW: We'll be at all the World Cups and the major tours this year.

WCN : Will you be taking any sort of break during the season, given its length?

OW: Yes, after the World Cup in Montreal and the Philadelphia Stage race and then the first race back will probably be the Giro.

WCN : Are you more of a one-day specialist compared to stage races?

OW: This year I think I'll be doing much more of the one-dayer's and supporting my team-mates in the Tours I'd imagine. 


Olivia Gollan - Team Nürnberger  IMG_7967.jpg (28720 bytes)

WCN: How did you find last week?

OG : I don't feel too bad, I've got a bit of a head cold, but I don't feel that bad. I've struggling over the past few months but I've felt a bit better over the past week or so than I have done.

WCN: Has it been tough to do the two World Cups and Tours so close to each other?

OG : Not really, I think for the Europeans, its something we do quite regularly - last year, we raced over 80 days. Its good training for us - to race and train. I don't struggle through that kind of thing, but I'm sure that a lot of the more inexperienced riders do struggle. Getting up and racing day after day is really hard if you're not used to it.

WCN: What about the fact that the temperature is about 10'C cooler here in New Zealand, compared to Geelong and much windier?

OG: I don't think it will affect us really, although the wind could be a factor if anything. I don't know which way it might blow from and how it might affect the race, but the temperature will be above 15'C, anything below sub-10'C can cause problems. Geelong wasn't that hot really.

WCN: How do feel about the course tomorrow?

OG: I'm pretty excited about it because its a hard course and generally those kinds of courses suit me and some of my team-mates. I think rather than a big bunch finish, it will be a more tactical race tomorrow.

WCN: How does joining the number 1 team in the World feel for you, does it add to the pressure?

OG: Its funny because for me  it doesn't. I feel like the last two weeks when the team has come together (they've been in Europe and I have been in Australia), have been the best. I feel like I'm in such a professional environment where the team are dedicated to getting one of us over the line first and it doesn't matter who. Its brilliant and I'm so excited to be part of something so special.

WCN: What does Petra (Rossner) bring to the team?

OG: She's got such a good understanding of racing and knows all the riders and she understands our needs because she was racing for so long. So, its great, yeah. 


Trixi Worrack - Team Nürnberger  IMG_7973.jpg (32465 bytes)

WCN: You've started your season in Australia and New Zealand, how has it been?

TW: It was pretty hard, it was our first races of the season and we are just hoping to be recovered for tomorrow.

WCN: The Team has such strength, does that excite you?

TW: Yes, its exciting and we worked pretty well together already. We all fit well into the team and its working well.

WCN : How do you prepare for such a long season and stay fresh?

TW : There's a lot of hard work to do to get ready, we had a training camp in Spain before Australia. I'm not fit  yet and have not got any specific aims yet - that will come as we go on.

WCN: How do you feel about tomorrow?

TW: It will be hard, I haven't seen the course, but I know its hilly. 20 laps with the climbs will be hard.


Judith Arndt : Current Road Race World Champion  IMG_79571.jpg (35930 bytes)

WCN: You have had two weeks of racing now in 2005, how are you feeling?

JA: Its been pretty hard, its been a bit like a 2 week tour almost, with the travel days as well. Today we tried to recover, to get a bit fresher for tomorrow.

WCN: Are you excited about the Nürnberger team for 2005?

JA: Its fun, really fun and we are taking the chances to win bike races too! (laughs)

WCN: Were you pleased with your time trial win during the NZ Tour?

JA: Yes, I was pleased with how I went and its always good to get a win.

WCN: Does the team have any tactics for tomorrow?

JA: Everyone knows Oenone is the strongest rider, but Trixi and I are going well, anything can happen during the race.

WCN: Having Oenone in the tea must be good?

JA: Yes, its great, we have a really strong team.

WCN: After becoming World Champion and Olympic silver medallist in 2004, how do you keep motivated?

JA: Its my job! (big grin) And its great fun

WCN: How is it having Petra Rossner and all her experience as manager 

JA: She has great understanding and helps all the riders. Her many years of racing obviously help a lot.


Joanne Kiesanowski  IMG_79441.jpg (60034 bytes)

New Zealand's on-form professional with the Italian Nobili-Rubinetterie team

WCN : What are your tactics for the World Cup race tomorrow?

JK : To cover all the attacks, its such a short course that I think it'll suit me - its like a criterium and that's what I've done a lot of over the past few years.

WCN : What about the wind, will that be a factor tomorrow? (the strength of the wind on Stage 2 of the NZ Tour last week was enough to blow riders across the road and cause dangerous conditions and neutralised racing at times)

JK : I'm not sure if it will be worse or better in the "Windy City" because there are so many buildings. It may be sheltered, or it may funnel through.....  the wind should be okay on that short course though.

WCN: Do the hills tomorrow suit your style of riding?

JK: I think so, I saw the course yesterday and they're definitely power climbs. Its going to be up and down all day so I think it'll suit me.

WCN : You finished fourth last weekend (World Cup 1, Geelong), which equalled Susie Pryde's 1999 World Cup record are you looking to better that?

JK : Yes, for sure, I'm definitely looking to be on the podium tomorrow, I think I can dodo it.

WCN : How have you recovered from the Tour last week?

JK : I've recovered fine. I had a decent time trial yesterday and I'm ready for tomorrow.

WCN: Who are likely to be your biggest rivals?

JK: Oenone Wood and probably Sara Carrigan, plus Judith Arndt and Mirjam Melchers

WCN: Jorg Sandeval, the race organiser has said he expects the finish to come down to a group of about 10 riders whilst the remainder will struggle to finish - what do you think of that statement?

JK: He's probably not too far off the mark - I think it'll probably be a group of about 5-10 riders might make it to the end to contest the placings, but I think the others will still finish afterwards, maybe he was speaking about whether they'll finish with the leaders.


Tina Pic  Team Avery Ford  IMG_7979.jpg (25043 bytes)

WCN : Two stage wins in 2 weeks (one in each of the Tours preceding the World Cups)........

TP: Yeah, its great (really big grin) I just found my sprint legs.

WCN: How did you find the conditions on Stage 2?

TP : The wind was unbelievable - the rider in front of me just seemed to get picked up and moved across the road. 

WCN: Are you looking forward to tomorrow?

TP: It'll just be a race of attrition, I'm not looking forward to the climbs, or should I say 20 times over the climbs?

WCN: Your team here in NZ is different to Geelong, although you 3 three Americans are still together. (Tina Pic, Lynne Gaggioli, Meredith Miller are joined by Emma James and Helen Kelly, plus Jane Williams (NZ). 

TP: Its good that we're all together still and Emma James is so strong at the moment - she's been great this week.

WCN: Will you be going to the European World Cups?

TP : It would be great to do the whole series, but I have to go back to the states. I'll be racing in California for a couple of weeks then back home to Georgia. I will do the Montreal World Cup and hope to get a ride in Europe towards the end of the year. Of course, there's the US Nationals too.

WCN: You've experienced Australian racing - there is so much strength in depth. How is it in the USA?

TP : The Australians have a great system - the State development systems and the AIS just look for talent and try to bring it on. The USA is not quite there yet, I think its improving, but they don't have things quite right yet.


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IMG_79571.jpg (35930 bytes) IMG_7967.jpg (28720 bytes) IMG_7973.jpg (32465 bytes) IMG_7970.jpg (26012 bytes) IMG_7979.jpg (25043 bytes)


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