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Sally Cowman's Tour of Berne Diary 2006
This diary entry was first published on CycleSportNews.com It is reproduced with kind permission from the Editorial Team at CycleSportNews.
Sally Cowman lives in, and rides for Queensland, Australia. She is in Europe at the moment as a member of the Australian National Team. Squad members will compete in World Cup races, Tours and other events during their stay in Europe, when not racing, the Squad has a permanent base in Verese, near Milan in Italy.
Tour of Berne
Sunday 23rd April 2006
Here I am to tell you about my first time in Switzerland and my first European World Cup.
We headed off on a three hour drive from Italy which ended up being double time with the traffic banked up going into a 20km tunnel. This made for some serious team bonding time whether we wanted it or not! We got there finally and settled in with a nice meal, looking forward to the race the next day.
We woke to a beautiful sunny day, just the way we Aussies like it, kitted up and headed down to the start of the World Cup. The race included six laps of a 20.8km circuit with a 1.5km climb each lap. Things got underway and right from the word go, we were lined up in the gutter.
There were 162 starters today, so we were all mainly focusing on staying up the front especially right before the climb. I found it quite easy to stay in the top twenty riders, but Hannah (Banks) isn't as experienced in the massive bunches yet, and found herself near the back for the first climb. She got caught behind some dodgy riders and couldn't bridge back to the front group.
We were down to four. The pace just didnít ease the whole race, and I couldnít see the other gals.We were half way through and Candice came up and said Alex and Amanda werenít with the front group any longer. Alex is doing so well just to be racing at this level, and her recovery is getting better all the time now. Spratty, our baby of the team, is gaining loads of experience which will be so valuable to her in the future with all that talent she has.
On the second last time up the climb, a group of about 15 riders went up the road. T-mobile brought the gap back just before we got the bell for one lap to go. Candice had been caught behind a bad crash by this time, so it was left up to me for the team. The last two laps were so hard but I made it over the last climb and I was in the main bunch for the finish. It split on the last climb with seventeen riders going clear. Oenone [Wood] had yet another great ride placing 2nd. I came in 6th in the bunch sprint and placed 23rd in the race, so I was pretty happy for my first European World Cup.
It was just great to race against that type of field.
Our next race is Liberazione on Tuesday the 25th April, so one of the other gals will let you in on how that goes.
Until next time,
Sally at the head of affairs in Berne
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