19 December 2008: Vicki signs with Vision1
Vision1 has announced the signing of Vicki Whitelaw for the 2009 season. Vision1 is a new team based on the structure of the Swift Racing Team which lost its sponsor and
ceased operation at the end of the 2008 season.
Team manager Stefan Wyman is quoted as saying “We're really pleased to have Vicki on our team in 2009. She's a very naturally
gifted cyclist who has performed so well in 2008. I think a lot of people in cycling sat up and took notice of her performances this year. She's going to a add a great
dimension to our team in stage races with her excellent TT ability, but when you add this to her all round ability, we're confident she'll have a major impact for us.”
Other Vision1 team members named today were Katie Curtis, Gabby Day, Aurore Verhoeven, and Helen Wyman.
Whitelaw is excited about the upcoming year. “I think this team has the potential for a really good season. While the team is new the structure has been established for
some time - Swift Racing was very well run. I am looking forward to the opportunity to work for and with Nicole [Cooke] and believe that this will be the perfect environment
for me to progress my cycling career.”
Whitelaw will commence her 2009 season by competing in the Australian and Oceania championships. In February she will join the Australian National team for the Women's Tour
of New Zealand before departing Australia in time to meet her new team for the Costa Etrusca-Gran Premio Comuni di Riparbella-Montescudaio (Italy) on 21st March.
8 December 2008: ACT Riders Excel at Tour of Bright
A large contingent of riders from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) took part in the Tour of Bright last weekend with a number of them finding success during the two day,
three stage tour.
Vicki Whitelaw took the overall win in Women's A grade by 48 seconds from new comer Shara Gillow. Whitelaw is building for the Australian national championships held in
Victoria in January. “I came into this race in the middle of a solid training block so wasn't sure how I was going to perform. It was very pleasing to come away with the
This was Whitelaw's first time at the Tour of Bright and she was impressed with the difficulty of the stages. “We drove the Mt Hotham stage after the time trial so I could
have a look at it before the race. It's as tough as any climb I've done in Europe this season.”
Whitelaw won the first and second stages, setting herself up with a 1 minute 52 second lead heading into the final stage. When asked whether her time trial win over Bridie
McDonnell and Kathy Watt in Stage 2 bodes well for the Nationals Whitelaw didn't want to put much weight on the result. “It's always nice to win a time trial but
I don't think too much should be read into it. None of us are at the top of our form right now. We've had our off season and are building again. I feel that there is a lot
of improvement to be made in the next month and I'm sure it is the same for the others.”
Whitelaw came second in the King of the Mountains (KOM) classification on count back “It's a bit frustrating. I've been close to a KOM jersey a few times in my career but
never quite made it. Still, I'm a time triallist rather than a mountain specialist so I guess I shouldn't be too hard on myself.”
One thing that Whitelaw was pleased to see was the quality of riders at the tour. “I started my racing career doing the Australian National Road Series [which Whitelaw won in
2006 and 2007] so know that there are some strong girls racing domestically. I've been away in Europe this season so didn't know who I had to mark in the race. This was the
first I've seen of Shara [Gillow] – she is strong! It's always good to see new riders developing.”
“I was especially impressed with Myfanwy Galloway. I've watched her come up through the junior ranks in Canberra. She has been passed over a few times because her numbers
weren't high enough but, rather than giving up, she has worked really hard and this weekend she has seen the fruits of her labour. Third place finishes in stages 1 and 3 and
fifth overall is a great result!”
In Men's A grade ACTAS mountain biker Nathan Haas finished second overall to Peter McDonald (Drapac-Porsche) after coming second on Stage 1 and taking the lead after the Stage
2 time trial. He also finished second in the Sprint classification and third in the KOM classification.
Notable performances by ACT riders were:
- Vicki Whitelaw: 1st Stage 1, 1st Stage 2, 2nd KOM, 1st Overall
- Myfanwy Galloway: 3rd Stage 1, 3rd Stage 3
- Chloe Hosking: 2nd Sprint
- Nathan Haas: 2nd Stage 1, 2nd Sprint, 3rd KOM, 2nd Overall
- Michael Matthews: 2nd Stage 2, 2nd Stage 3
- Sean Moran: 2nd Stage 3, 2nd KOM, 2nd Overall
- Sam Genge: 2nd Stage 2, 3rd Overall
- Adam Phelan: 2nd Stage 1
- Mitchell Lovelock-Fay: 3rd Stage 2
- Michael Phelan: 3rd Sprint
- Andrew Arundel: 1st Stage 1, 1st Stage 3, 1st KOM, 1st Overall
- Scott Sparkman: 1st Sprint
- Simon Niemeyer: 1st Stage 2
- Simon Claringbold: 3rd Sprint
24 November 2008: 2008 Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards
Anna Meares was named the 2008 Australian Cyclist of the Year at a dinner held in Melbourne last night, beating out fellow finalists Cadel Evans and Jared Graves.
Vicki Whitelaw was named the 2008 Australian Elite Female Road Cyclist of the Year. When accepting her award Whitelaw pulled out some speaker notes. She admitted to the audience
that she had prepared the notes not because she was confident of winning award but rather because she thought preparation would be insurance against having to do any public
speaking. This tactic failed and from the three finalists (Oenone Wood, Rochelle Gilmore and Whitelaw) Whitelaw was chosen to receive the honour.
"I was really surprised to win this award, given the calibre of the girls who are riding for Australia at the moment," said Whitelaw after the presentation. "This was my first
season in Europe and I went with the aim of learning all I could, developing as much as I could and having fun riding my bike. The good results were a very pleasant surprise and
a nice reward for all my hard work. To have those results recognised here in Australia is a real honour."
When asked what she planned to do next year Whitelaw was circumspect. "I can't say much at the moment but I expect to be able to make an announcement in the next week or so.
What I can say is that I am going to try and improve on my successes of this year."
20 November 2008: Year in Review - Part 2
Vicki Whitelaw spent the first half of the European season with the AIS Women's team. (See Part 1.) A string of good results saw her scholarship
extended, allowing Whitelaw to see out the rest of the season with the team.
After the Tour de l'Aude Whitelaw had a six week break from racing. “It was good to have a break. My husband came over for a couple of weeks and we toured some of the sights
of Italy. It was really good to see him again and hard to wave him goodbye when he left.” Whitelaw had two weeks off the bike and then commenced training for her next race,
the Giro d'Italia Femminile.
The Giro was Whitelaw's second long stage race of the season, lasting 9 days and covering a wide range of terrain. Starting the second half of the season off in the same
manner as she finished the first half, Whitelaw won the Stage 5 time trial. This win was especially important as Whitelaw had been hoping to gain selection for the time trial
World Championships to be held in September. “I really only had this one chance for selection” said Whitelaw, “I'm stoked that I pulled it off.”
The second half of the season settled into a pattern of a race every week or two. One major difference to the first half of the season was the addition of Rochelle Gilmore to
the national team. Whitelaw was excited about the opportunity to develop another aspect of cycling – the lead out. “Usually it was my job to drive on the front from a couple
of kilometres out and then hand over to one of the other girls. After some practice we started to get quite good at it. It's amazing how much harder you can push yourself
when you are working for someone else.”
The GP de Plouay-Bretagne, another World Cup race, proved successful for Whitelaw. She finished 15th after a hard day at the office. “The thing that I was really happy about
with Plouay was that, despite suffering all day, I was able to still finish in a good position. I now know that I can work through a bad patch and still come good.”
The Trophée d'Or Féminin followed a few days later. After the first day Whitelaw was equal first in the mountain jersey competition. In the event of a tie the leader is
decided on the rider's overall position - having lead out the team's sprinter Whitelaw finished towards the back of the pack and so missed out on wearing the jersey.
The Trophée d'Or had the potential to be a frustrating experience for Whitelaw, who was unable to capitalise on her good form. Whitelaw was philosophical: “I would have
liked to go after the mountain jersey and GC. To do this effectively there were a couple of times when we would have had to chase down a threatening break. The decision was
made that instead we would save our energy, aiming for stage wins via the sprints. That's team racing... and we did get Rochelle on the podium a few times.”
In her final hit-out before the World Championships Whitelaw made another visit to the podium, placing second in the Memorial Davide Fardelli time trial. “It was a confidence
booster to do well in the Fardelli. I went into the worlds knowing that I was carrying some good form.”
Both time trials in which Whitelaw had achieved a podium position were run over technical courses. When asked whether she thought bike handling was one of her strengths
Whitelaw was amused. “I started cycling quite late so didn't have the benefit of a lot of the skills training that is given to juniors. A couple of years ago I did a
criterium which really highlighted that I needed to work on my bike handling. I then spent time doing things like setting out corners with bidons and going around and around
them until I had the skills down pat. I guess all that conscious effort and training is paying dividends now.”
At her first World Championships Whitelaw finished 16th in the time trial and 53rd in the road race. “I was happy with the time trial. I would have been ecstatic with a top
ten and disappointed if I finished outside of the top twenty so yeah, sixteenth's ok. What I am excited about is that I can see places where I can improve my time trialling a
lot so there is the potential for some really good results in the future.”
When asked to comment on the road race result again Whitelaw saw potential for future improvement. “53rd was the worst result of the season for me this year. The world
championships are another level up again to the world cup races. I didn't feel like I was in great form. It had been too long since my last racing block and I need that
intensity to achieve top fitness. It was great that Nikki [Egyed] was in the break as we could sit in and just mark anyone who tried to bridge. With a bit different approach
to Worlds next year I'm confident I can improve.”
Whitelaw arrived back in Australia on the October 1st. “I was away for just over six months. It is such a long time, especially given that I was only guaranteed seven weeks
when I left. The biggest change I noticed was in my dog. He was three months old when I left so had grown a huge amount!!”
On returning home Whitelaw had a short time off the bike and then commenced training for the Australian national championships held next January. Her results in local races,
such as first in the ACT Road Race Championship and first woman in the Wagga to Albury Open Handicap, suggest that Whitelaw is on track for a successful 2009.
18 November 2008: Vicki finalist in the 2008 CA Cyclist of the Year Awards
Cycling Australia has announced that Vicki Whitelaw is one of three finalists in the Elite Road Cyclist of
the Year - Female category. She has been selected as a finalist due to her two stage wins in Europe this year along with her 16th place in the Time Trial World Championships.
Whitelaw is among esteemed company with Oenone Wood and Rochelle Gilmore the other two finalists. When asked for her reaction Whitelaw said she was pleasantly surprised. "I
didn't know that I had been made a finalist until one of my clients at work congratulated me. I have had an amazing first year in Europe. To be recognised by Cycling
Australia and made a finalist for this award caps my year off brilliantly. I am proud to be along side the likes of Oenone and Rochelle who are two of the strongest riders in
women's cycling today."
The winner will be announced at a gala celebration to be held in Melbourne on Sunday 23 November.
7 November 2008: Year in Review - Part 1
The UCI World Championship road race saw the end of Vicki Whitelaw's first European racing season. vickiwhitelaw.com took the opportunity to review what has been a very
2008 had an early start for Whitelaw with the Australian National Road Championships being held early January in Ballarat, Victoria. This was her first race back after
spending three months recovering from glandular fever. There was pressure on Whitelaw to perform as she was required to prove her form before being considered for an AIS
After a respectable 5th place finish in the time trial Whitelaw was instrumental in fellow Australian Capital Territory (ACT) rider Oenone Wood's victory in the road race.
After working for Wood in the closing laps Whitelaw crossed the line, again capturing 5th place. These results were enough for Whitelaw to be a late inclusion in the AIS squad. She was
granted a 7 week visiting scholarship.
Before departing for Europe Whitelaw dabbled in some track racing, representing the ACT in the pursuit at the Australian Track National Championships. “My coach and the ACT
Academy of Sport encouraged me to give the pursuit a try. After two sessions on the track I was timed to see if I could make the cut for ACT selection. My time was good
enough and before I knew it I was at the Dunc Grey velodrome racing in my second national championships in little more than a month.”
Despite her lack of experience Whitelaw qualified for the bronze medal race which she won by just over a second. “I enjoyed the experience. Not just because I won a medal but because I
love challenging myself with new things. The pursuit is similar to my pet event [the road time trial] but there are these significant differences. Like the choice of gears.
I was still working out what was best for me. I haven't grown up on the track so can't spin the small gears like some of the girls. In qualifying I was a little under geared
so changed the gearing between qualifying and the final. Seems like it was the right decision to make.”
Whitelaw hasn't ruled out a return to the track. “This year my focus has obviously been on the road and I expect that will continue next year but yes, I would enjoy exploring
options on the track in the future.”
Returning to the road, Whitelaw once again found outside factors would effect her racing. Travelling to the start of the third stage of the Geelong's Women's Tour with two
Landlink team mates, the car Whitelaw was in was involved in a high speed collision. All three were hospitalised, missing the start of the stage. Whitelaw was released later
that day suffering soft tissue injuries. “You never know what's around the corner. You can have the perfect preparation for a race – train right, eat right, do everything
right and then have something totally out of your control undo all your hard work. It can be frustrating but I thank God that we all got off as lightly as we did.”
Two days after the accident Whitelaw took that start at the Geelong World Cup, the first Women's World Cup race of the year. Whitelaw was still suffering from her injuries but
managed to complete the race, even earning UCI points for her 15th place. She was to go on and finish every race she started this season, though perhaps less dramatically than
in this race: Whitelaw was rehospitalised immediately after the finish due to breathing difficulties caused by her injuries.
Late March saw Whitelaw departing Australia, bound for the AIS cycling base in Castronno, Italy. After a short period of acclimatisation the squad started their European
campaign with a bang competing in the Tour of Flanders, another World Cup race. The spring classics have the reputation of being tough races. Raced over rough narrow roads,
including sections of cobbles, the weather can be atrocious. “It was certainly a eye opening introduction to European racing. With the narrow roads and steep climbs it was a
battle to stay at the front. If you let yourself drift too far towards the back you'd get stuck behind a crash on one of the climbs and then have little hope of starting again.
A lot of girls were reduced to running up after getting caught out.” Despite the shock Whitelaw finished in 35th place and actually enjoyed the experience. “Looking back
over the season I'm surprised to say that I think I'm actually suited to the spring classics. I'm looking forward to having another crack at them.”
Not everything was smooth sailing during Whitelaw's early races. “At one point early on I was averaging a crash per race. It was really frustrating to have all these bandages
and patches – I was worried it would give people the wrong idea about my riding skills.” As the season progressed the crash statistics dropped. “I really don't think that I
changed my riding style much. I learnt who to stay away from and my luck picked up a bit.” Fortunately none of the crashes caused serious injury and so did not interrupt
April and May settled down into a pattern of racing every other week and training in and around Castronno. Results started coming the way of the AIS team with a string of
podium finishes in Italian national races.
May saw Whitelaw's first European podium finish. Taking part in a Swiss national race, the GP Rund um Visp, Whitelaw escaped on a long solo break. She was later joined by four
other riders with the five sprinting for the win. Whitelaw finished 3rd behind Vera Carrara and Nathalie Bates.
The last race of Whitelaw's visiting scholarship was to be the Tour de l'Aude, a ten day stage race through the Aude region of France. It was here that Whitelaw made achieved
her break through victory, winning the 6th stage in a three-up sprint after bridging to the leading pair late in the race. “It was amazing to win a stage of such a tough race.
I was finding the climbing heavy going at times so it was great to be able to fight through and get a win.”
Whitelaw's string of impressive results were rewarded with an extension to her AIS scholarship. Part 2 of the Year in Review contains details of the
second half of the season.
7 September 2008: Whitelaw second in Memorial Davide Fardelli
Vicki Whitelaw has finished second to Swiss national time trial champion Karin Thurig in the fourth Davide Fardelli Memorial, a UCI 1.2 ranked time trial. Susanne Ljungskog of
Sweden was third.
The 16 starters were split into two waves, the second of which started 55 minutes after the first. The first wave had to contend with rain and wet roads which dried before the
second group started, giving the latter a big advantage due to the technical nature of the course.
Whitelaw started in the first wave but was philosophical about the conditions.
"Oh well, it's just the way it goes when you have two waves like that or if you are an early starter versus at the end. Sometimes it works to your advantage, sometimes not."
Whitelaw didn't believe that the conditions had much impact on the final standings. "Karin beat me by 1 minute 14. That's huge - much more than I lost because I had
to be cautious in the corners. Karin is in very good form at the moment, has been time trialing for a long time and is an ex-World Champion [in 2004 & 2005]. So given all
that I'm feeling ok about it all."
Thurig won by 1 minute 14 seconds over Whitelaw with Ljungskog a further second back.
4 September 2008: Cycling Australia Announces Team for Worlds
Today Cycling Australia announced the team that it would send to the 2008 UCI World Championships being held
23-28 September in Varese, Italy. The team for the women's road race consists of Natalie Bates, Nikki Egyed, Rochelle Gilmore, Emma Rickards, Carla Ryan, Vicki Whitelaw and
Oenone Wood. Bridie O'Donnell, Alexis Rhodes and Vicki Whitelaw will compete in the time trial.
After the disappointment of being forced to withdraw from last year's World Championships due to illness, Vicki Whitelaw is excited to have another
opportunity. "Last year I was diagnosed with glandular fever a week before I was supposed to travel to Europe to prepare for the time trial worlds. It
became a race against time to be well enough to compete - a race that I didn't win. I've worked towards selection for much of this year and it is very
satisfying to have all my hard work pay off."
The year started for Whitelaw at the Australian National Championships held in Ballarat in January. "I was still recovering and had only been training
seriously for six weeks. To get fifth in the time trial was OK - I was a bit disappointed. My lack of stamina let me down but the result showed that I was
on the comeback trail." Whitelaw also finished fifth in the road race after being instrumental in fellow ACT rider Oenone Wood's win. "It was great to work
for Oenone and get a win for the team. Being out numbered by the other states just added to the satisfaction."
Whitelaw's results in Ballarat saw her offered a 7 week visiting AIS scholarship which started in late March. Once racing in Europe with the AIS team Vicki
quickly found her feet. She was 35th in her first European race, the Tour of Flanders, 20th in the Tour de Berne a month later, 3rd the following week in
the GP Rund um Visp and then made her breakthrough win in Stage 6 of the Tour de l'Aude in May. "Winning the stage in l'Aude was huge! To have people like
[World Cup leader] Judith Arndt congratulating me was surreal."
Not surprisingly, Whitelaw's visiting scholarship was extended. In the end she was the only girl to ride the whole season with the AIS. "I didn't know how
long I would be over here. There were no guarantees but I didn't feel any pressure to perform. I concentrated on working hard, learning as much as I could
and just enjoying myself. The results flowed from there."
Whitelaw had a strong case for road race selection but wasn't confident she would be picked for the time trial. In 2007 she qualified for the team by
winning the Oceania Time Trial Championships. That wasn't an option this year as the 2008 Oceania Championships were, somewhat strangely, held in November
2007 whilst Whitelaw was still recovering from Glandular Fever. There are few opportunities to race time trials during the season and Whitelaw was not
nominated to race the Souvenir Magali Pache which acts as a selection race for the Australian team.
It was not until Whitelaw won the Stage 5 time trial of the Giro d'Italia Femminile that she began to believe she might be in with a chance. "It was so
frustrating. There just weren't the opportunities to get any results on the board. I knew that the Giro was my only chance. When I won [the time trial] I
started to think that I might have done enough." Indeed she had and will be one of three Australian representatives in the time trial.
10 July 2008: Whitelaw wins Stage 5 of Giro d'Italia Femminile
Vicki Whitelaw has won the 5th Stage of the Giro d'Italia Femminile by just 0.36 seconds in a speed of almost 47 khp.
The stage consisted of a 9.3km individual time trial - a discipline in which Whitelaw has had past success, winning the Oceania Time Trial Championship in 2007.
The course for the stage was flat with a couple of small power climbs created by railway bridges. There were a number of round-a-bouts (traffic circles) and tight
corners which brought some of the riders to grief. "After a bit of a bad day yesterday I felt like I didn't have anything to lose" Whitelaw reported. "I really attacked
the course, taking some calculated risks in the corners. There were a couple of instances where my rear wheel started to slide but I managed to hold it up. I'm really
happy to get this result."
Second place went to the Kazakh time trial champion Zulfia Zabirova with former US time trial champion Amber Neben in third.
Whitelaw again: "I'm having a really good season. It started early with the Australian championships where I worked for Oenone [Wood, who won the title]. I came
over here on an AIS visiting scholarship for what was initially seven weeks. After my stage win in l'Aude the AIS kept me on for the rest of the season. I've now
justified their faith in me with another stage win."
This win makes a strong case for Whitelaw to be selected to represent Australia in the time trial at the World Championships. "I would love to go to the Worlds for both
the time trial and the road race. I was selected for the time trial last year but had to withdraw at the last minute due to illness. That was really disappointing. It
would be so good to have another chance."
Whitelaw has not had many chances to prove her time trialling form of late. The 2008 Oceania Championship was actually held in 2007
whilst she was ill with the Epstine Barr virus that forced her out of the world championships. Whitelaw raced in this year's Australian titles with only 4 weeks of
limited preparation and finished a credible 5th but it was not enough for her to be selected for the second Australian worlds team selection race, the
Souvenir Magali Pache. Despite this Whitelaw was focussed on making the team. "I really only had this one chance for selection" said Whitelaw, "I'm stoked that I pulled
it off." The Australian team will be announced in September.
22 May 2008: Whitelaw wins Stage 6 of Tour de l'Aude
Vicki Whitelaw has won the 6th Stage of the Tour de l'Aude, a 2.2 ranked UCI race.
With 15 km to go in the race Whitelaw bridged 1'10" to a break containing Sharon Laws (GBR)
and Regina Bruins (NED) who had escaped on the descent after the final categorised climb of the day.
"Today was very, very hard" Whitelaw reported. "I struggled to stay in contact with the front bunch on the early climbs but I found my legs as the day wore on - I seem
to come into my element towards the end of tough stages. I knew there were two girls down the road but had no idea who they were. There was a slowing in the chase group
and Nikko, who was in the team car, told me to attack if I could."
Whitelaw attacked and then took the next five kilometers to work her way up to the front pair. "I just went into time trial mode, I mean, this is what I do, what I train
for. When I caught the break I found Sharon [Laws] doing the majority of the work. The girl from the Dutch National Team [Bruins] was obviously tired." Whitelaw and Laws
shared the work over the remaining 10 kilometers. "We were doing even turns, with Sharon setting the pace on the pitches and I was on the front otherwise. I wasn't
confident to attack - I was very aware of the chasing bunch and I didn't want to break the harmony we had... to let the others come back. I thought I had a good chance
in the sprint. The Dutch girl's body language was showing how tired she was - it was between Sharon and me."
Whitelaw didn't know the finish but was told from the team car that is was an up-hill sprint. "I have good top speed but not a great kick. I started my sprint with about
400 to go. The last meters just flew by!" Whitelaw crossed the line with a couple of bike lengths to Laws and Bruins finishing 6 seconds back.
"I'm really happy. People are telling me I'll have to pinch myself tomorrow - that I won't believe it. Now I want to finish the tour with good form." Three stages
remain, with the race moving out of the mountains tomorrow into the rolling terrain of Aude.
11 May 2008: Whitelaw 3rd in GP Rund um Visp
Vicki Whitelaw finished 3rd in the Swiss National Series Race the GP Rund um Visp behind Vera Carrara (bronze medalist in the 2008 Points Race World Championship) and Nathalie Bates (2006 Commonwealth Games gold medalist).
70 riders started the 80.5 kilometer race which consisted of 35 laps of a flat, technical circuit. It was aggressive from the start with a number of break away attempts being neutralized before a group consisting of Whitelaw, Carrara, Bates, Sereina Trachsel and Andrea Thurig was able to get away.
18 Kilometers into the race Whitelaw attacked the break. “The group wasn’t working well. The two Bigla girls [Trachsel and Thurig] were refusing to take a turn at the front and there was no way I was going to pull them to the finish. I attacked in an effort to thin the break.”
Rather than thinning the bunch, Whitelaw ended up riding solo for the next 35 kilometers. “I didn’t plan to go solo but you have to take your chances as they come. I kept riding below my limit and waited to see if it would come off.” The attack split the break with two groups of two chasing.
Bates and Trachsel caught Whitelaw with 28 kilometers left to race.
With five laps to go the three leaders began to consider the finish and a flurry of attacks ensued. This allowed Carrara and Thurig to rejoin the break with two laps to go.
A five woman sprint ensued with Whitelaw taking third. “I was determined to finish on the podium after all the hard work I did during the race. I hesitated when the sprint started. That was a mistake as it meant I just couldn’t get over Nat [Bates] before the line. I’m satisfied – it’s my first podium result in Europe.”
2 May 2008: Podium Finishes For AIS Women's Team
The Australian National/AIS Team has been achieving success in Italy this month with two podiums and a fifth place
in their last three races.
The AIS sprinter Belinda Goss is finding her feet in the European peloton. The AIS has spent the last two weeks in
Italy, building form in the smaller races before heading to the next World Cup race in Switzerland. Goss
finished 5th in the 1.2 ranked UCI race GP Liberazione and then third in both the uncategorised races GP Comune di
Fabbrico and GP GFM Meccanica. Her experience and confidence is building, racing against the likes of Regina
Schleicher, Giorgia Bronzini and Rochelle Gilmore.
Vicki Whitelaw has been reveling in the opportunity to work for a team mate. "I am enjoying the fact that I have a
team and a sprinter to work for. These races are not really suited to my style; they are flat and the peloton is
motivated not to let a break go down the road. It's great to help control the bunch and take part in the sprint
In Fabbrico the team benefited from the experience of Oenone Wood who joined the National Team for the race.
Whitelaw again: "Oenone was great. She was on the radio a lot helping us organise our racing. Belinda was wrapped
to have such a strong rider working for her at the finish."
In the lead-out Whitelaw and Wood worked over the last kilometers to launch Goss to the line. "Oenone was behind me
yelling for me to go faster. My heart rate was already in the 190s but with the motivation of riding for the team I
was able to find just that little bit extra." After Whitelaw pulled off Wood took over. Goss launched her sprint
but was unable to hold off the fast finishing Bronzini and Gilmore.
Goss once again demonstrated her sprinting form five days later in the Gran Premio GFM Meccanica. The AIS Team went
into the race with only four riders against teams with as many as fifteen. Despite the numerical disadvantage,
AIS riders Vicki Whitelaw, Carla Ryan and Jocelyn Loane were instrumental in ensuring the race came down to a bunch
sprint. Goss finished third behind Schleicher and Bronzini.
There is no time for the team to rest on their laurels with the Tour de Berne this Sunday. Whitelaw is looking
forward to the race. "This is the last World Cup [race] the team is doing for a while. From what I've been told
the course will be more to my liking than these last few races. If all goes well I should be able to get a good
13 April 2008: European Season Off To Bumpy Start
The AIS Women's Cycling Team have begun their European season with four races featuring cobblestones and strong winds. For Vicki Whitelaw this was her first time
on the dreaded pavé.
Vicki found the conditions very different to racing in Australia with up to 190 riders starting each race and
very narrow roads making it a battle just to hold position in the bunch. Despite being new to the cobbles Vicki found that she could ride them ok: "I
wasn't bad on the cobbles and could move up in the bunch on the climbs without too much difficulty."
Her introduction to European racing was not without its hiccups though. "4 races, 4 crashes - Good stats so far." Vicki crashed twice in the Ronde van
Vlaanderen and once each in the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo and Novilon Eurocup Ronde van Drenthe. The most serious, in the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo, resulted
in a broken bicycle frame. "A kerb... suddenly appeared before me as the road narrowed and when I travelling at about 40km/hr. As the kerb popped out I
was flung into the air over handle bars onto the grass." Fortunately no bones were broken but Whitelaw has a nice set of bruises and scrapes for her efforts.
Despite her misadventures Whitelaw is one of only two AIS girls who has completed all four races that the team has started in. She has consistently finished
in the front quarter of the field despite spending energy chasing back to the bunch after being delayed by mishaps. This bodes well for the remainder of
the season as the AIS team heads to the wider, smoother roads of France and Italy.
Whitelaw now has an 11 day break before her next race which will be held in Italy.
6 April 2008: Vicki Survives Ronde van Vlaanderen
Vicki Whitelaw has raced her first cobbled classic and has not only survived but finished well despite two crashes.
Competing for the first time in a European round of the World Cup , Whitelaw has finished a very credible 35th out of the 188 starters.
“That was just hard!” a tired but relieved Whitelaw said at the end of the race. “I was caught up in a couple of crashes. The first was my fault –
I haven’t had time to get use to the new bike which has the brakes swapped over from the standard sides used in Australia. I went into a corner and
hit the wrong lever. The bike just went out from under me. At least I didn’t take anyone else down. The second crash - someone went down in front
of me and I had nowhere to go. I lost some skin and trashed my nice new arm warmers in that one.”
After fighting her way back to the bunch Vicki was caught too far back on the climb when a small group went off the front. “I was going up the
cobbled climbs really well, passing lots of girls. I was still too far back working my way through the bunch when the move went.”
When asked if she was happy with her result Whitelaw said that she was satisfied: “I am happy. I have shown that I can ride in the big bunches and
finish up there. There were only a few Australian girls in the first couple of bunches – Oenone [Wood], Lorian [Graham], Emma [Rickards] and myself.
My teammates Amanda [Spratt] and Jocelyn [Loane] were really unlucky, both being caught in a crash right towards the end. Otherwise they would have
been there too. None of us would have done our selection chances any harm today.”
Vicki now has a couple of days to recover from her scrapes and bruises before her next race, the Drentse 8 van Dwingeloo in the Netherlands.
24 March 2008: AIS Women's Team Launched
Vicki Whitelaw has been awarded a visiting scholarship with the AIS Women's
Cycling Team. The announcement was made at the team launch in Canberra last week.
The team departs for Europe on Thursday with their first race, De Ronde van Vlaanderen, on Sunday the 6th of April. This is not only a World Cup race but also an
Olympic selection race and the girls have hopes of catching the eye of the selectors with a top performance.
When interviewed Vicki said that "this visiting scholarship is a great opportunity for me to get over to Europe and show what I'm capable of. It's an Olympic year and
of course every girl in the peloton wants to be selected to represent their country so the early season racing is going to be fast and furious. With only three places
up for grabs in the Australian team the competition is fierce and the selectors will have their work cut out for them. I hope to put my case forward with some good
With her visiting scholarship lasting 7 weeks there are a few possibilities for the remainder of Vicki's season. "I could stay on with the AIS if the scholarship is
extended. Alternatively I may have the opportunity of a mid-year signing with a pro team or, if nothing eventuates, I may be coming home to race the National Road Series
with Landlink. I'll have to wait to see what happens."
The AIS media release can be found here.