It was seven in the morning and it’s already pissing down. To make matters worse, contrary to the hotel’s owner’s explicit promise, no one’s manning the reception which I wouldn’t mind normally, but the entrance was closed. I was getting a bit desperate and was thinking about desperate measures (a couple of years back I had to smash a glass door to solve a similar situation, do check the story out here) when another hotel guest emerged and showed me the spare key above the door…
The day started with the women’s race, so without further ado, let the photos tell you the rest of the story.
Marga Fullana Riera prepares before her first World Cup race this season.
I arrived to this spot quite early. I had tried various angles here the day before but none seemed to work. However, with the rain, the rocky descent transformed into an icerink. Just so you can imagine what happens here, Elizabeth Osl arrives first, Eva Lechner follows suit but miscalculates the traction and slamms herself and her bike into Osl. The two riders exhanges angry remarks and then carry on with the rest of the race.
I have no idea how Maja Wloszczowska managed to pull of this downhill-esque move but it does look impressive. The outcome of her crash wasn’t that delightful however, she left the scene limping and quite likely it played a part in her 25th place by the end.
Willow Koerber after the previously seen deadly descent. Check out her tattoo on her right arm! I can’t really see from this angle but will try to figure it out at Offenburg.
This seemed to be a really good photo spot – until the first couple of riders went past me: the tyres spat up lot of mud as they were braking and most of the mud landed on either on my gear or on me. I didn’t mind mud on me but I wasn’t particularly happy about muddy equipment so I decided to chase a different angle.
This isn’t the different angle just yet, it’s just Marga Fullana Riera.
This was a nice spot, I quite liked the intensity of the faces, the angle and the fact that my cameras were protected from mud. I sat out an entire lap here, so after the motorcycle that signals the very last rider, I couldn’t feel my legs just pins and needles.
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa
From the tricky muddy corner I hiked up to a climb to catch sufferning faces. It was their third lap, so they were indeed sufferning. However, the always-smiling Katerina Nash didn’t really have the energy to do so after this climb.
Irina Kalentieva was caught up in a crash in the start loop so she didn’t really stand a chance to repeat last weeks good performance. I think her expressions sums up the story pretty much.
I find the transition from U23 to the elite category a quite interesting one. Some riders thrive when the start to race with the elite riders, some suffer. Tereza Hurikova, the ex-U23 world champ seem to fall in the latter category, or at least right now that is the case.
Eva Lechner crosses the finish line, Willow Koerber isn’t far behind.
Julie Bresset is my personal favourite: I haven’t seen anybody lately who could celebrate his/her result so innocently and happily, she was like a small child and yet she finished 4th, behind the +1:50 behind Lechner. She’s definitely a rider to watch in the future.