Tuesday 6 May 2014 – Pre-race Blog
La Fuga’s John Deering is embedded with the crack US / Canadian squad Optum-Kelly for the duration of the Women’s Tour to provide the team support. Today he tells us about the team’s final preparations for the Grand Depart.
It’s not that far from Heathrow to the La Fuga office in leafy Mortlake, or indeed not a million miles from either place to Optum-Kelly’s pre-race HQ in Northamptonshire. I should know, as I’ve driven between the three pretty much continuously for the past four days, picking up riders, staff bikes, kit, you name it.
Today, our five girls were whisked off to talk to Optum’s staff at a seminar in Peterborough. For Denise Ramsden, or Ramshackle as her teammates call her, this is her second time riding a bike in England, after she raced London 2012 for Canada at the age of just 21, finishing a creditable 19th in the TT and in the main pack behind Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armistead in the road race. She remembers our local area well – she almost came a cropper in Richmond Park on the very same corner that put paid to Fabian Cancellara’s ambitions in the men’s road race.
“You guys ride in that park all the time, right? Don’t people always fall off there?” Err… well, no, because for us it’s more of a roundabout than a corner and we creep round it. We’re more worried about cars than gold medals.
Tomorrow’s first stage is short at just 94kms from Oundle to Northampton, and we’re hoping for fireworks. “Women’s racing can be a bit negative if it’s left to the big teams to control it,” explains experienced DS Kevin Field. “We like to start a bar fight if we can. That suits us.”
That’ll be just fine for the people watching too, Kevin.