It started off well with the 22km Prologue in Meerendal. Milena rode as hard as she could and we finished in 2nd place. She did a great job especially considering that she didn't bike between August and February due to the snow where she lives in Switzerland.
Stage 1 started off well. Milena was riding strong for the first 10km, but then she felt sick and we had to withdraw from the race. Fortunately she was carrying her mobile phone and she could call the team to let them know the bad news. We were going to ride back to the race village but the marshals wouldn't let us because of the oncoming traffic, so we were able to watch all of the other riders coming through - of which there were many hundreds! Luckily it wasn't serious and once the medics helped her hydrate she was fine.
The marshall told me that I could carry on and race as an outcast tomorrow. But unfortunately this rule is not applicable to UCI riders.
Now I am feeling deflated. After training so hard and for so many hours this winter I need to re-focus and get a new plan. I'll keep you posted!
The blow for the team didn't finish there. Disaster struck for Alban and Robert when an antelope ran in front of Robert on a fast descent. Now he has a broken collar bone and many bruises. I am so sad for them. I wish Robert a very fast recovery. Here is a video clip of his crash.
We have such an amazing team of supporters and I'm truly grateful to all of them for everything that they do for me and the other riders. Thanks Peter Feller, Lars Hartwich, Dirk Juckwer, David Padfield, Werner Faust and Maureen Muller!
Thanks for following and sorry to end the story with bad news.