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Ronde van Drenthe, Holland
19 Apr, 2005

Ronde van Drenthe, Holland and living in Bonate Sotto, Italy

Hi there,
Stage 3
Well if i had good luck yesterday with where i flatted, today i didn't!! I flatted my front wheel on the 2nd section of pave, and once again these are sections of cobbles through forests, you would normally think that these are not meant for road bikes but in Holland you ride over anything it seems. So when i flatted i was in the front group so i waited on the side of the road for someone to come, a car, a motorbike, a teammate anything would've done, but nothing for quite a while! Then my teammate Daniella came and very graciously gave me her wheel, thanks! But it was too late by then so i was stuck back in the 2nd main group. We ended up getting pulled with about 40kms to go as we passed the finish line at 90kms. It was soooo cold that day and we had pouring rain for awhile so once i knew i was out of it i think i was glad to get pulled and quickly bike back to the hotel and get in the shower. Our team had bad luck today as on the same section of cobbles, Olga crashed and wasnt able to finish either, she is alright though now. So we lost our 2 places on GC inside the top 10. Sigrid and Edita finished with the front group, sounded like a tough day.
Now i am in beautiful Italy in the Bergamo region in a town called Bonate Sotto. I just love it here. My apartment is great, it's just been renovated with a new kitchen and some of the bathroom. We are sponsored by Nobili which makes taps and fittings for kitchens and bathrooms so it was cool to see the sponsors product in use! I was by myself for a couple of nights but last night Evelyn Garcia arrived from El Salvador so she will also be living with me here. I think it's only us two for most of the time so thats cool.
The training is so awesome, there is always somewhere new to go, i'm always finding new climbs, there are alot here i tell you. I am leaving on saturday though just for a few days to go back up to Belgium for a UCI one day race on sunday, GP Wallonie and then the next round of the World Cup, the tough Fleche Wallone. I have been practising the final climb called the Muur de Huy on this climb i found here on the first day, its perfect for preparation, very steep!
I can't get online with my laptop here in Italy yet, i am just using the library computer so unfortunately no pics. But maybe when i get to Belgium i will be able to put some up.
Until then,
Jo.

The first stage at the Ronde van Drenthe was a world of hurt for me! I had had a bad knee after Flanders so I hadnít been able to ride much at all for the 4 days in between. I was hoping that the next 2 days would get better. I ended up 16th in the bunch sprint, I just felt the whole day that I couldnít move up, there were a lot of crashes and almost crashes, always braking, I had such a sore back at the end of the race from all the tension! My teammate Olga was the best placed in our team at 7th. Susanne de Goede won it with a great leadout from her team. There were a lot of corners in the last few kms so it made it really hard to move up.
Stage 2
The second day was a lot better for me as I felt I had my legs back again and my knee felt normal again. It was a long stage of 128kms with 8kms of neutral also. My team missed the break which was away for a while, not really sure where it went? But we were on the front for a long time and it stayed at 50secs, then I got a flat and got back on with not too much trouble and got back in the group just in time for the climb. Itís this little climb about 600m long but VERY skinny and in something like a rubbish dump! Of course itís the only thing around this area that resembles a climb so we did it 3 times today, all different ways, and tomorrow also 3 times!! So anyway it split a bit after the climb the last time and we got a lot closer, so it was down to Olga and I to chase it. We got them back with about 12km to go and then there were only about 15 girls left! It really split up from all the wind, crashes and cobbles. Oh yeah I forgot to mention the cobbles at this race, crazy, they are through forests and are sooooo rough, more like rocks in the ground. So in the sprint it was hard as we had done all the chasing, but we managed to get 5th (Olga) and 6th for me. We are now sitting in 7th and 8th positions on G.C. Tomorrow is another 130km hard stage but with 9km altogether of cobbles and 3 times up that hill also. There are two bonus time sprints and also bonus seconds at the finish, hereís hoping we can get some of them!
Not sure when i will be able to post after this stage as we are driving back to Italy straight away, well we are stopping in Germany for the night, it's about a 11 hour drive i think??
Jo.

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