Trofeo Binda World Cup race 2011
March 28th, 2011 by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
What starts bad, can only get better!
My European cycling season took off to a rather bumpy start, to say the least!
Yesterday saw the start of the UCI Women’s World Cup series with the 13th Trofeo Binda World Cup race in Cittiglio, Varese, Italy.
The race consisted of a challenging route, with lots of climbing, over a distance of 124km in “home” territory. Varese province is where I base myself whilst in Europe and I know the climbs and roads very well from training.
This was just up my ally and having come from a training camp in Tuscany the week before, I was feeling super strong and confident. I really felt this race was my opportunity to make a break through in Europe! Unfortunately, this was not meant to be!
From feeling on top of the world after a recy of the route and major climbs on Friday afternoon, to the bathroom floor all Friday night, feeling like death warmed up, the race had disaster written all over it!
After suffering a terrible stomach bug Friday night, I spent my entire Saturday in bed sleeping and not eating much at all. I woke up on Sunday morning feeling better and managed to eat a good breakfast, so I decided to race. I felt that World Cup’s don’t come around that often and since the race only started at 13:00, I was not willing to give up without a fight. However, a fight it became quite literally!
As we left the hotel to ride to the start of the race, the weather turned for the worst! After being sunny all day, at 12:00 it started to rain! I should have seen the signs, but I didn’t and continued ahead to the start of the race.
The roads were wet, it was cold and as a result the racing became dangerous. The race started on a flat loop through Luino before hitting the first climb at about 35km. I held a good position near the front of the bunch thinking I would be safest there.
Alas, at 32km into the race, whilst taking a gradual corner, the girl in front of me slid out and took me down with her. I got up as quickly as I could. Luckily there was not much damage to the bike and no serious injuries, so I got back on my bike to start the chase.
I managed to get back into the convoy quite quickily, only to find that the climb was about to start. As I rejoined the bunch, it had already splintered as a result of the climb. I fought hard, climbing as hard as my body would allow! Too my surprise I managed to rejoin the front split of about 20 girls, 500m from the summit of the first climb. I was relieved and thought I was in with a chance!
As we started to descend I decided to take a bit of a rest near the back of the group. This was obviously not a good decision! Not long after I rejoined the front split I found myself hitting the tar once again. The girl in front of me fell and I had no where to go, but straight into the back of her. This time I did a tumble over the handle bars. I took quite a knock to my head, and as a result it took me a few seconds to make sense of what had happened.
This time my team car was not around to help. Dany, my team manager, hadn’t realised that I had managed to make it back to the front split and had no idea that I had fallen. With some help from the neutral support vehicle, I managed to get back on my bike, but this time I lost too much time on the front split. I found myself on my own and could not believe what was happening?!?!
Eventually the second group caught me from behind. In the second group I had two team mates, Ludivine Henrion and Tiffany Cromwell. They were very supportive and together we tried to chase back. At one stage, when the gap came down to about 30 seconds, it seemed possible! I had a flicker of hope, but unfortunately the climb just wasn’t long enough to make contact with the front split.
With 40km to go, my race was over! The gap grew too big on the descent with HTC-Highroad chasing Emma Pooley who was off the front. With no co-operation in the bunch too chase, I decided to take the rest of the race as a training ride!
I finished my first World Cup for 2011 feeling very disappointed! Despite my will to succeed irrespective of the circumstances, good fortune was not on my side! The Trofeo Binda World Cup was not meant to be!
Although I am incredibly disappointed, at least I know that it is only the beginning of the season and there is still lots of racing to come!
As I’ve said before, it takes many wrongs to get it right, but once you get it right once, you’ll get it right always!