Jennie Stenerhag

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Gracia Orlova in Czech and Tour of Chongming island in China


Stage 1, Gracia – Orlova, UCI 2.2 105km. Thursday


This is the fourth consecutive year that I race in this race, so I am starting to know the routes. I really like this race so I was looking forward to the start and also to the first UCI race of the year. 20 teams and 108 girls were on the start line. From the Swedish national team it was me, Madde Olsson, Marie Lindberg, Martina Thomasson, Jessica Kihlbom and Johanna Nilsson.


The race started very slow, I had expected the good teams to put pressure on the bunch. It was only on the hill sprints that it got going a bit. I was top 10 all the time, so I felt strong on the climbs. I guess most of the girls knew that it would be decided anyway on the last climb to the finish. It was a 1km steep hill with cobble stones at the end. I was too far back just before but managed to get to the front as we passed the 1km mark. At the 500m mark I was next to Marianne Vos but when she put in an attack I could not respond. I came over the line 13 seconds behind her in a 10th place that I was happy with, I have never been top 10 before on this stage. Unfortunately Johanna from our team was in a crash and had to stop the race.

It was carbo loading right!!??? We were happy when they gave us lots of sweets on the way to Czech:-) 


Stage 2, 124km, Friday


This day was the mountain stage, the hardest day in the race. We started climbing after 25 km and the real hill came after 35. It is a 7km hill up to a ski station and that is where the bunch splits every year and same thing this year. I had to let the first girls go about half way up, my climbing legs were not there at that time… I caught some girls on the way down, which I have never been able to do before so feels like my downhilling has improved! At the bottom of the hill we were a bigger bunch and Martina was there with me. Marie came up to us from the front and soon we caught Madde who had been in the first bunch but lost them on the way down. Jessica had stopped the race cause of stomach problems, so all remaining Swedish girls were in the same bunch and we were racing for 8th position. Over the next 3 climbs we had a steady pace but at the end we wanted to race again, so we attacked all the time, with about 5km to got away Martina together with a Norwegian girl and it looked like they were going to stay away, but we caught them up the last steep 800 meters to the finish. I was 5th in our group and 12th on the day. I was now laying 9th overall.


Stage 3, 18km Time Trail, Saturday morning


It was pouring down with rain when we went to Poland to do the Time Trail, so we only warmed up a bit under the roof in the bus… I really like this time trail and I went out well and got good speed in my legs and I managed to keep it all the way. I averaged 42.2km/h and finished 9th, ahead of Nicole Cook (the Olympic road champ) that must be the first time I beat her!! And only 35 seconds behind Marianne Vos, I am usually a few minutes behind her so I am very happy with my TT.


Stage 4, 60 km, Saturday evening


After lunch and some rest on the grass in Poland (luckily it stopped raining) it was time to do the evening race. It was a lap that we did 7 times. Marie got away in a group of 7 right from the start. Strangely enough I felt great again so I was sitting near the front of the bunch the whole race to try and make sure that we did not catch them and if it happened, to be prepared to attack. Unfortunately we caught them as we went out on the last lap, the speed got so high so now one could get away so we had to try something at the end. 800 meters before the finish we had 2 roundabouts to go through on the wrong side. Me and Marie were near the front and as we turned to go up the hill we gave it our all and finished 5th and 6th. Since they took the first 6 up on stage at the prize giving, it was the first time I was on the stage together with Marianne Vos, who won, and Nicole Cook, who came second! I was now laying 8th overall



Stage 5, 100km, Sunday


On the last day it was raining again and we had a lap of 16km to do 6 times, it is a hard lap with narrow roads, sharp corners, some fast downhills and some smaller hills. I was sitting on Cooks wheel the first 2 laps but unfortunately I went down to talk to Marie near the end of the second lap and as we passed the finish line going out on the 3rd lap Vos and Cook attacked and got away with 2 others, I was the first to chase but unable to reach them. Madde had crashed on the first lap so we were only 3 left in the race but we tried to attack to get away but we could not. It was a Russian girl that got away from the bunch so coming to the finish we raced for 6th position. Marie attacked about 600 meters from the finish so that I could go with and pass her as we turned up the hill and I really gave it my all, I was finished when I had 100 meters to go and turned around to see another Russian on my wheel and I don’t know how I could even turn the pedals but I was first over the line!! I literally fell off my bike in the arms of our masseur!! I was happy to take the sprint but not happy with missing out when the break away went, I think I had it in the legs today… So for the second time in two days I got to go up on stage together with Vos and Cook:-) And I finished 8th in the General classification and my goal was a top 10 so I must be satisfied with that.



There is a program from Czech TV here


After packing all our stuff, showering and eating we started the long trip towards China. The first stop was Prague where we had a plane to catch the next morning. First the GPS did not work, when we were on a high way it showed that we were on a field and it took us through some really small villages… When we finally found the big city and it was a bit late, we had to start looking for a hospital to get Madde checked to see if she was ok for China, she could not walk… While she saw a doctor the rest of us went to Mc Donalds for late supper, when we had done a huge order and got the food they said they did not take credit cards… luckily we had gotten some price money so that we could get food;) Madde was ok so then we headed for the airport and a hotel close by. When the others dropped me, Madde and Jessica off at the Holiday inn it was already 23.15 and we had to leave no later then 04.45 since our flight was at 06.00. So the 4 hour sleep got a bit expensive per hour, but it was worth it!!


Monday 2010-05-03


When we came to the airport and dropped off our luggage we asked if we could use a wheel chair for Madde, that was no problem but we were not aloud to push it so we got assistance. A man came with us and took us passed all the queues at security and passport control. Same thing happened at the gate, we went out first and they came with a ambulance taxi that took the 3 of us out to the plane, so we were already sitting there when all the other passengers came on board:-)


When we came to Paris Beavius airport the flight attendant had already phoned them cause they came with a wheel chair to meet Madde, and this time we got 3 guys that helped us with our luggage, hmm maybe try this some other time as well;) We needed to go to CDG, the bigger airport in Paris where the rest of the team were and our flight to Shainghai. We checked the bus but it was leaving too late for us and there were no taxi in sight. So our only option was to rent a car for the 70km we needed to transfer ourselves. That was probably the most expensive kilometres I have ever travelled, since we needed a big car and also drop it at a different place then we picked it up… We had no information about where to go when we arrived at the airport but we were really lucky cause when we dropped the car we were right outside the terminal and check in gates that we needed to be, out of 3 terminals with all letters of the alphabet….!!!


So finally we were all gathered and could get on the flight to Shainghai and China!!


Tuesday 2010-05-04


After the 11 hour flight and missing one night cause of the time difference we were finally in China. BUT they did not let us in! It took us 2,5 hours to get passed the passport control cause we did not have our visas!! The organisers of the race were supposed to come and meet us at the airport with our visas, but I don’t know who was the brain behind that since they were waiting in the arrival hall…!! How did they think that we could get passed security without visas…?? So we had do apply and take photos and so on before we were allowed to enter the country.


So finally after a very long trip we got on the bus and arrived at the Tianhe Hotell on Chongming island outside of Shainghai, this will be our home for the next 5 days. We have our own team-assistant and every team gets an orange little car together with a driver. After lunch and a snooze it was time to cycle in China for the first time! And sometimes I think it is a bit crazy in the traffic in South Africa, but that is nothing comparing to this!!!! All cars just drives as they want, just beep the horns and go, doesn’t matter if it is red or green or oncoming traffic or turning traffic, they care about nothing!! And our driver did the same with us behind the car!! He overtook traffic with oncoming cars and thought we should follow. When he did a left turn with oncoming traffic it got too much, if we would have followed him we would not have been alive after!!! Absolutely crazy!!!

Finally in Shanghai!! The world Expo is here right now, this little man is the symbol for that and you see him everywhere!



The team outside Tian He Hotel on Chongming, where we stayed the whole time in China.


Stage 1 Tour of Chongming island, UCI 2.1 Wednesday


It was really difficult to get up when the alarm went off at 7am, it was like middle of the night for my body and it felt like the floor was rocking and I just wanted to sleep. I did not think it would be possible to race…


98 girls from 16 teams came to the start line and it was soon obvious that Columbia and Cervelo were the two big teams that controlled the race. They were first and second at all the intermediate sprints and the finish… It was pouring down with rain and the roads were very dirty so it got muddy and slippery and since it was a completely flat course it was a very fast race. It was also very short so everyone could keep a high speed. We averaged 41.8km/h on the 72.5km route. There were a few attacks and some breakaways that stayed but close to the finish it all came back together again.


It was our first race as Alriksson GoGreen and we were only 4 at the start, Me, Jessica, Malin and Henriette. Johanna was supposed to be with us but had to go back to Sweden after the crash in Czech and Madde is with us here but can still not race after her crasch… We did some very good team things in the race and take that with us as positive things since we did not get a good place. It was 2 big crashes close to the finish and we were just behind the last one and had no chance to get to the front so we all finished at the back half of the bunch.



It was so muddy it looked like we had just done a MTB race!



Stage 2, 79km Thursday


We all slept bad this night, it is difficult and takes time to get in to the right time rhythm. But at least the floor was not rocking this morning so I felt a bit better. It was dry and sunny and +35 degrees at the start, much better for me. An Italian girl attacked from the start and was away until the first sprint after 33 km, other then that it was a few attacks but nothing really felt serious and it was also hard for anyone to get away since Cervelo and Colombia just took everything back. It was once again a big bunch to the finish and Kirsten Wild took the sprint, I did not manage to get to the front today either and got a 26th place.


Afterwards we got to experience the smog in China, we were all coughing on the way home, we couldn’t breath. No I understand why all he Chinese are using masks!! After lunch we got some time for some shopping since we are staying just next to the shopping street:-)

One of the big crashes, we had to take a detour on the feeld...


Stage 3, 79km, Friday


Today we saw a blue sky for the first time!! It has been hot but grey the other days but today was a lovely warm and sunny day! It was a lap race 11 times on a 7.3km lap so with lots of corners we thought it would break up in to small bunches. So I was very active in the beginning and went on lots of attacks and was in a break away for a while, but it all came back together. So even though it was a high average speed of 41.9km/h, lots of break away attempts and corners, it still came down to a fast bunch sprint. I was in a very bad position and came over the line as number 40 and got a 38th place overall. Not very happy with this, but flat short races are not really my thing.


After I had done the doping test that I got randomly selected for (luckily I am getting used to doing these tests so know how they are done, cause they did not speak much English…) we did some more shopping! But we our legs were so tired so we took a “cycle-taxi” back to the hotel.


Tomorrow is a rest day and then we got the World cup on Sunday before we return to Sweden.

Me and Charlotte Becker in a breakaway


Tour of Chongming island world cup, 138km, Sunday


This morning we woke up to the sound of pouring rain, it was going to be a wet and cold day! We were really cold in the team tents after the fancy presentation of the race. As usual on this island it was going to be a flat race, but at least we got 2 hills with Queen of the mountain prices since we were going over the newly build bridge over to the mainland. We were expecting the bunch to split at that stage and smaller groups to come to the finish. The race started slowly and when we came to the first intermediate sprint (the flat one) after 27km I went to the front at the 1km mark, the next sign said 200m and I was expecting it to say 500m, so I just went for it and won the first sprint, it is the first time that I have won a sprint in a UCI race and definitely in a world cup:-)


The bunch was together as we approached the bridge and the strong gutter tore it in to pieces. We turned around on the other side to concur it again and at that point I was chasing hard in the third small group of 10 riders (think it was about 10 riders in each group). Girls joined from behind and on the other side of the bridge we caught the group in front. After about 100km we also caught the first girls and we were now a big bunch of about 70 riders again, and it was going to be a big bunch sprint. I did not manage a good placing today but our team is happy that we had 3 riders in the bunch to the finish in our first world cup as a team! And very well done to Madde for finishing even though she is still limping!!


The roads are very dirty here and the kit was not easy to get cleaned after. The second half of the race I felt sick and I have not been able to eat now after the race. But if I would get tummy sick after riding on those roads I would not be surprised….


We are now waiting to go home, the bus will soon take us to the airport, they are talking about a new ash cloud over Europe… we really hope that we can land in Paris tomorrow morning and then go on to Copenhagen, we are really missing SWEDEN now!!!!


(Tuesday 2010-05-11 When we came to the airport in Shanghai our biggest nightmare came true, our flight to Paris was cancelled!!! Luckily we got booked on another flight leaving at the same time, to Frankfurt and from there we would have to find another flight home. It felt better to be stranded in Europe then in China. We arrived in Frankfurt early monday morning so we had the whole day to find something. After 2 coffees at Sturbucks our team-management came with tickets to Copenhagen at 2.30pm. We got picked up there and drove back to our base in Sexdrega and arrived there only 4,5 hours later then the original plan, so was not so bad after all!)



GoGreen in China!


Every team got a service car, it was just hard to see which one was ours...


Preparing in the team tent


At the team tent together with our team-assistant


Our team leaders, Martin, Carro and Thierry


We had some trouble to communicate with the laundry ladies, they did not understand English and we did not understand Chinese... but we had a good laugh:-)


Chinese cappuccino:-)


Negotiating a good price on fake branded socks:-)


We took a cycle-taxi back to the hotel after our shopping


Me and Madde enjoyed having someone else cycling for us:-)

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