Last night saw the peloton race a hilly (one hill was as steep as 16%) 105 kilometre course that finished in Greiz.
The message I received from Vicki was short… but very sweet:
I came second to Emma Johansson in the stage from a break away group of 9!
Thüringen is a real hard woman’s course with short, steep climbs, cobbles, rain (there is always rain during this race) and narrow roads. It is usual for the race to be decided by small breaks and who has the fortitude to be in these day after day. With the main bunch finishing almost six minutes down last night it is pretty certain that the final winner of the general classification will come from the nine who finished at the front of Stage 2.
Vicki has now moved into 5th overall, 14 seconds behind Emma J and 1 second off a podium place.
And you want to know the best thing of all? I now have a photo of Vicki with a beer in her hand. This is Vicki. The one who never drinks and hates the taste of beer. The race is sponsored by a beer company – the Altenburg Brewery – so the daily podium presentation is made with schooners of beer in place of the usual sparkling wine and the final General Classification winner receives a massive glass that has to contain close to a couple of litres - it’s certainly enough to give one of these slight female cyclists a bad morning the following day.
Tonight’s Stage 3 is a 98 kilometre loop out of Schleiz which is reasonable flat and expected to end in a bunch sprint. It seems that the Commissaires took note of my rant the other day (cause, you know, I’m sure they are listening to me ) and gave all the riders in the same bunch the same time last night. Here’s hoping that will continue tonight!