I (Louise) haven’t had the most auspicious race season this year. Winter injuries, a slew of punctures, working weekends, in Kerry with not many races nearby … meant I’d only finished 5 races all season … So in a slightly extreme effort to get fit for Rás na mBan in September, my 6th race of the year was the 4-day stage race Tour Feminin en Limousin, France – Marianne Vos’s last race prior to the Olympics. Hahaha. The pain game begins!!
It was lots of fun to be back with my old teammates from the Netherlands, and I rode surprisingly well – finishing mid-field most days – getting lots of hilly racing miles in the legs. The first 30km of each stage was hectic – the terrain in Limousin is up and down, no flat (just like Kerry!) and with a bunch of 120 (reduced to 88 finishers) on narrow roads and descents, the race split to pieces very quickly each day.
The road stages, 120-130km each day, made me appreciate the advantages of the LMNH bidon … bigger than a normal bidon but not gangly and awkward. Two bidons hold around 1.5 litres, handy in warm weather … shaped so easy to grab hold of. But the LMNH bidon really came into its own in Limousin. This is a well organised race, including water-carrying motorbikes: trays of Vittel for riders … help yourself, screw off the cap of the Vittel, screw off lid (sooo much better than a flip lid for this purpose) of the LMNH bidon still in bottle cage, fill up and onward! no waste, so easy … all in all, the perfect bidon!
Back at the pointy end of the race, Vos was so impressive – winning overall by 14 minutes over second place, and 20 minutes over third place. The girl really knows how to race hard. Love it. Awesome to see her win the Olympic title, very well deserved … and big congrats on silver to Lizzie Armitstead!
Tour Feminin en Limousin 2012 UCI 2.2 General Classification
|5.||VAN DER BREGGEN Anna||SLT||21’08″|