The KIA Verducci Team, fresh off another podium celebration in Zug, was not so happy when award ceremony lasted until 10:30 pm, giving them a late start on a 4-hour drive to Saarbrucken, Germany for the next class 2 WIC event.
After a few wrong turns, the tired team arrived in Germany at 3:30 am and got a few hours sleep before the 10 am start.
Saarbrucken is also part 3 of the Jever Blade Challenge, with a total prize pool of 10,000 euro for the men and 10,000 euro for the women. Unfortunately, only those teams that have been in all the races were eligible for the prizes.
The race is known as the most difficult on the German calendar - not what the team wanted to hear with already sore legs and only a few hours of sleep. The city itself is on the west side of Germany close to the French border and is a hilly area.
- The Course
The course is a single 42 km loop that goes from the city, to the country, to the hills, and back to the city. It had it all, with tight corners, slight inclines that went for kilometers, big climbs that also went for kilometers, fast dangerous down hill sections, and rolling hills that were too long to use down hill speed to climb most of the way up. All in all, the course turned out to be harder than the notorious Zug course.
- Women’s Race
The women’s race got underway at 10:02 am, making it the second 40km+ race for the Kia Verducci Team within 24 hours. The team was joined again by National Verducci skater Ana Margarita Corrales, who was again looking to make her way to the podium and keep her strong run going. With a large number of skaters in the field, it was hard to sort out the real contenders from the fakers until the 5 km mark. The race was indeed another hilly test, with rolling hills that forced the unfit skaters to drop out. With so many hills there were good opportunities to break away, and the main field reacted by pushing the pace to make it near impossible to generate the speed needed to get out in front of the group.
The skaters pushing the pace were Kia Verducci’s own Theresa and Nathalie, Nicole Begg of Hyper, and some of the Barclaycard team. But on the two main climbs of over 3 km, a French K2 skater set the pace, leaving most of the field behind. On the run to the finish it was the Powerslide team that got to the front and cranked it up, while Britta Vantournhout of Barclaycard moved up near the front. Theresa, knowing how good the Belgium girl’s sprint was, followed her to make sure she did not miss the sprint. And with 300 m to go, Vantournhout made her move toward the finish line, but with Theresa and Nathalie right behind, Theresa saw her chance with 150 m to go and quickly moved out from behind and launched her attack on the line, pulling through team mate Nathalie for yet another Kia Verducci 1st and 2nd place finish. Barclaycard’s Andrea Haritchelhar placed 3rd and Vantournhout held off a fast finishing Begg of Hyper for 4th place.
- Final Results
1st - Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Kia/Verducci, USA
2nd - Nathalie Barbotin, Kia/Verducci, FRA
3rd - Andrea Haritchelhar, Barclaycard, ARG
4th - Britta Vantournhout, Barclaycard, BEL
5th - Nicole Begg, Hyper, NZL