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A Letter from Plouay: Kim Bruckner’s World Cup diary

  • By VeloNews.com
  • Published Aug. 24, 2002

By Kimberly Bruckner, Saturn Cycling team

Some of my friends and family at home seemed to think that the French WorldCup took place in a village called “Poulet” today. Pouletmeans chicken, and no, we really weren’t racing in a town called “chicken.”The race took place in the village of Plouay. I’m not sure if Plouay canbe translated into anything English, but I know it doesn’t mean chicken.Our five-woman Saturn squad came into this race motivated and excited.You just couldn’t tell by looking at us. We were all still quite worn outfrom La Grande Boucle. Ina had been telling me all week that I looked likehell. Hey thanks, Ina!I spent the week between the World Cup and La Grande Boucle at Ina’sparents’ house in Dusseldorf and we basically slept most of the week. Ourdays at home consisted mostly of sleep, a little riding, watching movies,and eating. Not such a bad way to spend a week. So you’d think we’d berefreshed and raring to go to try and bring back the World cup leader’sjersey to Petra’s shoulders. Our minds definitely were ready. Nobody wassure about the legs though.The course was a 14-kilometer loop that we rode eight times. Cat andI pre-rode the course the day before and it felt just like a world’s course.The entire loop was barricaded, speakers were placed all around the course,and two big TV screens were set up; one at the start/finish line and oneat the top of the first climb. This way spectators could watch the entirerace. And I could see what was going on ahead of me if I didn’t happento be in the front at those exact moments.Sponsor ads were everywhere and campers were parked at key viewing points.I wanted to believe that all the hoop-la and fluff was just because wewomen are so special. But Cat assured me that it was only because the promen were racing Sunday and that was the true cause of all the excitement.Oh well…I can still pretend.There were two climbs on the course, both about 1.5km long. The steeperclimb came 5km from the finish and then 3.5km slightly downhill to thefinish, making for a very fast sprint if it came down to that.The World Cup leader going into the race was Miriam Melchers from theFarm Frites team. Our teammate, Petra Rossner, was only 14 points backafter seven World Cup races so far this year.Our plan was to try and keep the race together for as many laps as possible.As it turned out, Leontien Van Moorsel and the Farm Frites team had thesame plan. The problem was that when Leontien sits on the front, the paceis always fast and furious. This time was no exception.Melchers’ team did a great job setting such a high tempo that the fieldsplintered on the very first lap up the second climb. Everyone came backtogether for the most part, but by the second time up the steeper climb,girls started putting in attacks and the hurt was on. Climbers like Luperini,Susanne Ljungskog, and Joanne Sommarriba were keen for a World Cup winand their best bet was to go on the hills, no matter how short they were.I think our entire team was a little worried the second time up themajor climb as everyone except Judith came off the front group and hadto chase back on. Our director, Dave Millward, was a bit concerned too,as he told us later. But through the strength of the team and our desireto help Petra win back the World cup jersey, we all fought hard and eachtime pulled Petra back to the main group. With three laps to go, I heardDave say in the radio, “Judith and Kimberly, now you need to stick withPetra.”Oh dread. I knew what that meant. Ina had been Petra’s motor the firstfive laps, bringing her back on each climb, motoring at the front. Shewas cooked now. Cat herself had worked hard and had done as much as shecould but now they were getting left behind.Judith and I made sure that Petra was always in our sights and neverin trouble. Each time through the feed zone, we got her a coke or a mix,whichever she preferred. The second to last time up the climb, I heardJudith say to Petra, “Just one more time after this. I know you can doit.”At least that’s what I understood with my German translation. Attackskept going constantly, and if it wasn’t Judith or I closing gaps, therewere plenty others to do it too. Many teams were looking for the win. Onthe final lap, Dede Demet-Barry, T-Mobile put in a great attack and SusanneLungskog, Vlanderen followed.Seeing the opportunity, Joanne Somarriba attacked to catch up to themand I went with her. As we sped down the twisty descent, Somarriba keptsignaling me to come around her and take my turn at pulling, but that wasn’tmy job. I kept radioing to Petra “Do you want me to come back? Do you wantme to drop back?”But I wasn’t hearing any reply. I couldn’t tell if my radio was workingor not. I looked behind me and I could tell that Judith was working hardto close the gap to what was now Dede, Somarriba, and me. Ljungskog wasfurther off the front. I immediately fell off the two of them and waitedfor a charging Judith and the remainder of the field. Judith and I workedtogether to bring back the two escapees and then to bring back Ljungskog.We brought Petra into the climb and after only about 300 meters, Miriamtook off up the climb with Petra in hot pursuit.Petra is so amazing. When she has to lay it all on the line, she can,without a doubt. By the time Petra got to the top of the climb, there wereonly six girls left. Miriam Melchers was pushing the pace, thinking shehad dropped Petra. Behind her were Ljungskog, Somarriba, Regina Scheichlerfrom Michela Fanini, a French girl, and our very own Petra Rossner.When Miriam finally saw that Petra was still there grinning at her,she hesitated and some other girls caught back on. Attacks started immediatelywith only 3.5km to the finish and Petra covered the first two. But shewas on rubber legs at that point and could do no more.With the next attack, Petra saw Judith come flying around her and bringback the attack. With a little over 1km to go, Simone Parente from EdilSavino attacked and no one could chase. But she was tired and wasn’t toofar ahead. Petra started her sprint “too early” she said, but she camearound Parente and was only nipped at the line by Scheicher.Petra told us it was the happiest she has ever been with second. Secondplace earned her 50 points in the World Cup series. With Melchers finishingfourth, Petra earned back the World Cup leader’s jersey. She looks fantasticin it.While Petra went to podium to receive her awards and rainbow jersey,the rest of us headed back to the van to clean up. When the awards ceremonystarted playing a national anthem, I asked Ina whose anthem it was. I knewit wasn’t the German national anthem, because I know that tune. I alwayshum along to it. Ina asked Judith, and Judith replied, “Yes, that’s ouranthem Ina.”But then Ina and Judith realized they were actually playing the EastGerman national anthem! Big mistake on their part. That one went out withthe wall in 1989. Anyway, we’re celebrating tonight. The next World Cupis September 8th in Switzerland. We’ll be there.


GP Plouay – World Cup Number 7, Plouay, France, August 24, 20021. Regina Schleicher (G), Michela Fanini Record Rox, 115km in 2:52:38(39.96 kph)
2. Petra Rossner (G), Saturn, s.t.
3. Susanne Ljungskog (S), Vlaanderen-T Interim, s.t.
4. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Farm Frites-Hartol, s.t.
5. Encritz Iturriaga Etxeberria (Sp) , s.t.
6. Sandrine Marcuz (F), French National, s.t.
7. Joane Somarriba Arrola (Sp), Deia-Pragma-Colnago, s.t.
8. Susan Palmer-Komar (Can), Reste du Monde, s.t.
9. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, s.t.
10. Aline Camboulives (F), French National
11. Simona Parente (I), Edilsavino, at, 0:06
12. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn, at, 0:11
13. Sophie Creux (F), French National, at, 0:33
14. Lisbeth Simper (Dk), Michela Fanini Record Rox, s.t.
15. Magali Le Floch (F), French National, s.t.Overall World Cup, after 7 races
1. Petra Rossner (G), Saturn, 259 points
2. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Farm Frites-Hartol, 253
3. Regina Schleicher (G), Michela Fanini Record Rox 168
4. Priska Doppmann (Swi), Swiss National, 120
5. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus), Australian National, 100
6. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, 98
7. Hanka Kupfernagel (G), Nurnberger, 92
8. Dede Demet-Barry (USA), USA T-Mobile, 75
9. Susanne Ljungskog (S), Vlaanderen-T Interim, 75
10. Lyne Bessette (Can), Quebec, 74
11. Anna Millward (Aus), Saturn, 50
12. Diana Ziliute (Lit), Acca Due O, 50
13. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn, 45
14. Hayley Rutherford (Aus), Australian National, 44
15. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), Figurella Dream Team, 39
16. Aline Camboulives (F), French National, 37
17. Nicole Brändli (Swi), Acca Due O, 36
18. Geneviève Jeanson (Can), RONA, 35
19. Chantal Beltman (Nl), Acca Due O, 35
20. Sandrine Marcuz (F), French National, 34
 

Results

GP Plouay – World Cup Number 7, Plouay, France, August 24, 2002

1. Regina Schleicher (G), Michela Fanini Record Rox, 115km in 2:52:38
(39.96 kph)

2. Petra Rossner (G), Saturn, s.t.

3. Susanne Ljungskog (S), Vlaanderen-T Interim, s.t.

4. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Farm Frites-Hartol, s.t.

5. Encritz Iturriaga Etxeberria (Sp) , s.t.

6. Sandrine Marcuz (F), French National, s.t.

7. Joane Somarriba Arrola (Sp), Deia-Pragma-Colnago, s.t.

8. Susan Palmer-Komar (Can), Reste du Monde, s.t.

9. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, s.t.

10. Aline Camboulives (F), French National

11. Simona Parente (I), Edilsavino, at, 0:06

12. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn, at, 0:11

13. Sophie Creux (F), French National, at, 0:33

14. Lisbeth Simper (Dk), Michela Fanini Record Rox, s.t.

15. Magali Le Floch (F), French National, s.t.

Overall World Cup, after 7 races

1. Petra Rossner (G), Saturn, 259 points

2. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Farm Frites-Hartol, 253

3. Regina Schleicher (G), Michela Fanini Record Rox 168

4. Priska Doppmann (Swi), Swiss National, 120

5. Rochelle Gilmore (Aus), Australian National, 100

6. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino, 98

7. Hanka Kupfernagel (G), Nurnberger, 92

8. Dede Demet-Barry (USA), USA T-Mobile, 75

9. Susanne Ljungskog (S), Vlaanderen-T Interim, 75

10. Lyne Bessette (Can), Quebec, 74

11. Anna Millward (Aus), Saturn, 50

12. Diana Ziliute (Lit), Acca Due O, 50

13. Judith Arndt (G), Saturn, 45

14. Hayley Rutherford (Aus), Australian National, 44

15. Edita Pucinskaite (Lit), Figurella Dream Team, 39

16. Aline Camboulives (F), French National, 37

17. Nicole Brändli (Swi), Acca Due O, 36

18. Geneviève Jeanson (Can), RONA, 35

19. Chantal Beltman (Nl), Acca Due O, 35

20. Sandrine Marcuz (F), French National, 34

 

FILED UNDER: Race Report / Race Results / Road TAGS:

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