I always start these World Cup races believing I have a big chance to get myself on the podium. Lining up on the front row with the world’s best female crossers is always a nervous affair, but I normally manage to get a fast start and stay out of trouble. In today’s race however Vos was unstoppable. She just flew away from the line. All I could do was follow until the first corner and hold my position. A quick dive down a bank before the 3 tiered uphill all within the first 100 meters of off road was going to cause chaos in the middle and back of the field and I knew I had to stay away from that.

As predicted, several riders’ races were over before they’d really begun but I was happily up the front and holding 3rd spot until the first pit. Vos and Daphny had got a flyer, they were already out of sight on most parts of the course so I focused on what I could, my own race. Mid way through the race I was still there going for 3rd. I had Mani and Compton for company for some part, but then all of sudden we caught Vos. She’d managed to crash which wasn’t hard on a course like this when you are pushing the limits.

Vos put the burners on and passed me pretty quick to take back 2nd, and pretty quickly 1st. At that point after 3 or 4 laps I was only 12 seconds off the lead so I’m very pleased with that. Compton, who’d had a difficult first couple of laps, also took off leaving me in a wheel for wheel battle with French star Mani, who had been out racing the USA when I was there. She really was on an inspired day and no matter what I did, I couldn’ shake her off and she had that little extra to give come the sprint. I guess that’s what the home crowd can do for riders.

5th place, again (My 3rd time in the World Cup this season), but only 6 seconds off the podium. I’m very happy with the way I rode and more importantly that my health is improving. I still can’t push myself 100% yet, but slowly it’s getting better and I hope to keep getting better over the coming weeks. This weekend is the final round of the World Cup in Holland. It’s a good course and I’ve been on the World Cup podium there before so I’m looking forward to it a lot.

Until then

Helen

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