Italy are champions of the relay again! We have the fresh result of the first race of the 2009 Worlds with comment on the GB performance from Helen Mortimer.
Word just in from Helen Mortimer on the World Champs Team Relay. Helen is one of the Team GB Managers out in Australia and gave me this info while in the truck of luck, headed for the ranch for dinner.
So the big question was - how'd the race go?
"Not too bad - we're happy with the result, we were consistent throughout, it is a big improvement on last year and we are moving up the scoresheet and becoming more competitive all the time. Ninth could have been sixth, we were 25 seconds behind the Dutch and lost out in a sprint to the line with the Czech Republic. Both Kenta Gallagher and Annie Last put in good laps and racing on that course was a good insight."
So what information was gained?
"Everything will be decided on the climb, the course starts in the open and from there it is a technical climb that is all singletrack. Once you are into it there will be no overtaking so a good position here is critical. Of course every other rider will have the same plan, because nobody wants to end their race on the first up hill. From there the second half of the course opens out and it gets very windy - you won't want to be riding alone in these sections."
And for tomorrow?
"Tomorrow is a very busy day. First is the Junior and Under-23 race. We have both Lily Matthews and Annie Last in the Under-23s, Annie is on good form at the moment and we'd be delighted with a top ten, especially as it is her first year out of Juniors.
Then there is also the downhill and fourcross practice, everyone is looking forward to that. Dan Atherton has his trainer out here and is doing great, the whole team is working well together."
Thanks to Helen for her update and we'll have more from the team tomorrow morning, following the women's under-23 XC race.