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Connie O’Brien’s – UCI Race ‘Tour De Feminin’ in Czech Republic 2019

My UCI Race ‘Tour De Feminin’ in Czech Republic

Tour de Feminin women’s cycling Tour UCI 2.2 in Krásná Lípa, Czech Republic. 4 days, 5 stages, 6000m of climbing

Stage 1 kicked off Thursday afternoon. 120km with 4 bergs. The heat was on right from the start with many roundabouts at the bottoms of descendants which called for many crashes. Unfortunately seeing Libby Arbuckle – fellow Bike Manawatu member in one of early crashes. The race continued and with the pace high the peloton strung out. I quickly learnt that positioning was going to be the make or break for this race with the amount of climbing. Racing against some of the top women riders proved that moving up the bunch for better positioning was going to be much harder than an NZ race. With 170 riders fighting for the front. After about 40km in I found myself nearer to the front where I thought I could now relax into the race a take more control. The fighting for the front continues and if you aren’t aggressive you will soon we washed straight to back again.

The bunch split up every hill and being mid pack I was in the chasing bunch. However I worked hard with a few other girls rotating to bridge the gap.

The last 5km up to the finish was very technical with the heat on and all the girls tense lead to a few more crashes. I managed to stay upright and finished 36th.

Stage 2 was another 104km road race again with many hills which played out much the same as stage one. I finished in the front bunch.

Stage 3 was a ITT that went straight into a 1km decent climb. We woke up that morning to thunderstorms so I slipped some supermarket bags down my shirt and away I went – kept me dry so did the trick! I was stoked with this ride as made many power PBS.


Stage 4 was a shorter 80km road race, 3 laps of the same circuit. Not to say that it was any easier being shorter as was Jammed packed with many short sharp hills and one long hill. 15 minutes in the rain began followed by thunder and lighting. Damn I thought I forgot the plastic bags to keep me dry. Following from yesterday rain and crashes the bunch seemed to be a lot more cautious. Once again the hills were the determining point. Going into the last lap team mate Niamh put the accelerator down up every hill decreasing the size of the bunch. With 5km to go the I moved to front increasing the pace in help to lead my team mate Niamh Fisher-Black who ended up in 12th and myself 22nd.

Stage 5 was a 90km road race. By now the legs were really feeling it. But knowing it was the last day I knew I had to leave everything out and on the course. Another day torrential rain, narrow windy decents and many climbs. It proved to be another very hard day.

The Bunch blew to pieces up the 5km climb – few of us fought hard to catch bunch in front. With 2 laps to go the bunch split into two halves me being in the front then again on the last lap it halved this time I was in the 2nd half. With only 12 or so of us left at the top of the climb we risked everything down the decent into the finish and in the rain people were slipping out around corners and unfortunately I was behind someone who slid out causing me to land in the ditch. Nether the less with some help i was back up and crossed the line making 44th on the general classification out of 170 starters. I was stoked with this result.

Overall was a great once in a life time experience with very tough racing and interesting accommodation. We were placed in a little hotel which felt like in the middle of no where which was built before WW2. The accommodation also provides food which also showed its age by feeding us soups for lunch and dinner everyday – scrumptious race food. However being the tough kiwis we are we got through it and made it an awesome learning experience.

Thank you for all your support in making this opportunity possible it is hugely appreciated!

Connie O’Brien