Jennie Stenerhag

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Gracia - Orlova


I came home yesterday after the stage race Gracia – Orlova in Chech republic. It has been a lot of fun and the national team has done some good results. It was 107 girls on the start line and we were 9 swedes in total. 

First stage was a 100 km road race and the pace was good, we were all in the bunch when we started the last 1km climb up to the finish line. The bunch got shattered on the climb and I finished 25th 

Second day was the hill-stage, the start got postponed since a few teams had problems finding the location and they also took 10km off the course, but we still had 114km to go and 15km was climbing. The bunch was together when we started the long 7km climb 25km in to the race, but here it got all separated, it felt like a long line of girls up the hill. I was last in a small bunch when we got to the top but I could not hold on all the way and was about 20 meters behind at the top. It was too far for me to catch up on the downhill so I ended up chasing for 10km on my own. I finally gave up and waited for 4 girls that came behind me and we worked together to the finish. I got a 27th place on the stage. I was happy with my climbing but disappointed that I did not give that little extra at the top, I could have been in that bunch a head… 

The third day was double stages, a 19km TT in the morning and a 66km road race in the evening, both in Poland. The TT felt good, I got in to the rhythm from the beginning and could keep it through the race and got a 20th place on the stage. It feels like my TTing has become a lot better since last year.  

We were waiting for the evening race and I think that everyone was expecting a semi-relaxed race. 2 girls got away early and it was full speed from start to finish, we averaged over 40km/h even though it was narrow roads and lots of corners. It was a really hard race and I didn’t even have time to eat or drink. We all sat in the bunch which was very well done from the team! Sweden got 2 top 10 placing and I came in as number 30. 

I think a lot of legs were acing before start on the last day, some girls started with vests on and rain jackets, they were probably expecting a slow and easy race since it was so hard the day before, and the final results was already decided.  But they were wrong, from the beginning the pace was high, a lot of girls dropped on the first laps and the bunch got smaller and smaller. We had 6 laps to do and after 3 or 4 it started to rain and it got very slippery. It was a tricky course and with the wet roads the crashes came one by one. Luckily no Swedish girls crashed and we managed to get 6 in within the top 18, absolutely the best day for Sweden! My place was 12th and I got 22nd in total. Marianne Vos won the race and the best Swedish girl was Marie Lindberg who got 17th. 

I am happy with my performance considering that it was a year ago that I raced internationally, on Monday it is one year since my elbow accident. I feel more comfortable in the bunch and it is easier to get to the front when I want, I also feel stronger this year, especially on TT and climbing. It was a lot of fun to be out there racing again and we were a very good group, we had a lot of fun together, both the riders and the support team. I want to give a special thank you to Madde, Kajsa and Matin who took care of us so very well!! 

We are leaving again on Friday for the next races, it is 3 races in 3 days in Denmark. So will be hard again!

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