Monday, 31 March 2014


Start: Laveno-Mombello, Varese, Italy
Finish: Cittiglio, Varese, Italy
Distance: 121km
Status: UCI World Cup - CDM
Team: Giorgia, Lotte, Mayuko, Sanchis, Linda and I
Staff: Franky, Jarrod, Pascal, Bart, Ben and Aaron from Cyclevox

With a line-up of sixteen girls on the Wiggle Honda list, including a mix of Olympic and World Champions, sometimes the hardest step in the race process is actually making the cut. For most races only six girls are selected, meaning ten girls are left sitting on the sidelines. Sometimes these odds are increased when certain riders opt out of races, but for the most of it we are working hard just to get a start. What is perhaps surprising is that this doesn’t affect the strong bond that each girl has with the one beside her. We encourage during training, support during racing and those that miss the cut tend to sit at home refreshing twitter, hoping that their teamies will have a great race.

Classic 'selfie'
Photo courtesy Gus Farmer

For me, I had performed well at GP Cornaredo pre-camp and subsequently earnt my spot in the team for the Binda World Cup. So after an early morning commute across Italy I was able to look at the course as we lapped around the finishing circuit of 17. The opening circuit left Cittiglio and ventured over the most significant climb of the day at 30km, with it's highest peak at the 43km mark. We then descended through to the finish and completed 5 laps of the finish loop. The entire course was either up or down and would make for a good day out as a climber. As a semi-climber I thought the course really suited me and although I was tired off the back of media camp, my legs felt good and I started to get excited.

Maybe too excited.. It was my job to cover the moves for the first half of the race and I maxed out at 190bpm three times in the first 30min! I was a mess. My heart rate was uncontrollable and so Sanchis and Gio were forced to take over my role as the climb approached. I tried to sit-in and rest but nothing changed. I was able to start the climb in the top 10 but slowly fell through the group while trying to control my heart rate. Mayuko and Sanchis sat comfortably on the front while I really dug deep to punch over the QOM and tack onto the back. Yes! I made it. Average 188bpm for 6min…oops.

Starting the climb- before my heart exploded
Photo courtesy

The peloton was now cut in half and I could only hope that my body would ‘fix’ itself on the way down. But instead of my expected recovery section when I thought I was at the peak, the hill kicked up steep from 1km, and then gradually eased off over the next two. Now I was in trouble. I was at the back and lost contact before the top. I tried not to panic because I knew I would be in good stead on the 7km descent and back into the bike race in no time. I wasn’t even taking risks when I took a left hand corner coming up on the back of a motorbike. I was gaining speed as he was losing it and as if in slow motion, he swung from the left hand side of the road to the right hand side and took out my front wheel! I tried to react but I had nowhere to go. Crash #1 of the season. What a dick..

I was so angry that someone could be so stupid and ignorant with no care for the safety of the riders, and then as I stood up he rode off! I screamed profanities while putting my chain back on and pushed off with the help of a spectator. I stopped again to adjust my brakes, and then a third time to straighten my bars. By now the Honda team car was here and Jarrod pushed me off. After a stint of motor pacing to get me back to a small group the car was on their way to the head of the bike race. I had lost over a minute and rolled through with about six girls including aussie Jessie MacLean, to the finish of the first circuit where we were pulled from the race.

Gio wins the sprint for minor points
Photo courtesy Bart Hazen

The damage to both my body and bike was minimal. I had a burn on my left shoulder, elbow and hip- plus a broken Look pedal and grazing on my Fizik saddle. I believe that I may have been on a ‘bad day’ anyway, but was still disappointed to have a World Cup end that way. I watched on as each lap a different combination of riders had a small advantage, the major move including our very own Mayuko! In the end it would all come back together and split on the final climb of the day. The main contenders put 50secs into the chase bunch that Gio lead home for a very credible 9th place- this girl can do it all!

Podium presentations are a celebration!
Photo courtesy

It was a long journey back to Buggenhout in Belgium. We hit the road at 6pm with 1031kms on the Navigation System. Two hours later we were in the high mountains, staring into the darkness at dense snow and long tunnels, and the nav man now said 1083kms. Go figure. We eventually made it back on track and stopped for dinner at 11pm (starving...hangry). By 1am I was worried that Jarrod would be tired and decided we stop for a sleep in the truck. So we pulled into a parking bay, one of hundreds on the route home, and coincidentally pulled up beside the Wiggle Honda team camper that our DS Franky was driving. So we stole the top bed, 4hrs sleep, and then hit the road home, finally pulling in at lunch-time and stealing another kip in the arvo…rooted! It was a very big 10 days away

Results: Via Cyclingnews
Garmin 510: Via Strava
Wiggle Honda Video: Via Cyclevox
Race Video: Via UCI Cycling