A week has passed since the Giro, and I thought that my body had pretty much recovered from nine days of racing...that was until we headed to Cento for the GP Carnevale d'Europa. The 6-hour return trip across Italy saw me racing my first International one-day race with the AIS, for which we had accumulated a squad of 9 (pictured bottom), undergoing a change in staff that saw John Forrest now acting as D.S and Marc Williams as mechanic. A scheduled 15 laps of a 7km circuit would total 105kms, with two bridge overpasses the only exception to a pancake flat course. An attacking race and a 1km cobbled/pave section would end up providing us with one crash, two punctures, and some seriously severe headaches!
With the help of professional recruits Oenone Wood (Columbia), Emma Rickards (Cervello), and development members Leonie Burford and Josie Tomic, we were well represented in every break. After a few attacks, Carlee and Oenone jumped off the front in what looked like the winning move...until it was no longer. With four laps remaining and the group all together, Vicki started doing some damage on the front. In the meantime, Tiff was feeling the effects of a 5-day holiday, and I, the effects of the heat, goos and cobbles combined. A group of 10 finally went clear with a now exhausted Oenone. When I tried to bridge the small gap, my headspins and small 'mouth vomits' actually disappeared! Had I owned even a minute trace of form, I would have made contact, but instead I returned to the peloton to lead out Rochelle (pictured above) for 11th.
This is where the confusion began. There were two reasons I was convinced we still had a lap to go. The first, my SRM only read 96kms and the race was supposedly 105kms. The second, we still had seven girls in the lead out when we hit 1km to go! I was of no use in the end, because it's not possible for seven girls to hit the front in that period of time! Oenone rode herself to 4th in the break, and Rochelle won the bunch sprint. It was a long and tiring drive home, and the heat had hit me hard. The bad news? I was too tired to eat. The really bad news? Carlee and I had chosen to take the race car home, and after encountering a front wheel flat during the race, we were only able to travel at 80k/hr along the autostrade!
Results: GP Carnevale d´Europa, Road Race, Cento, 105kms