IT’S already been a hell of a week for Border cyclist Taryn Heather but it’s about to get a hell of a lot bigger.
Wodonga’s pocket rocket was part of a two woman, 105-kilometre breakaway before finishing second in the fifth stage of the prestigious Thuringen Rundfahrt tour last Sunday.
She described that as amazing.
But tomorrow, about 9.30pm our time, she’ll take to the cobblestones of Paris’ Champs-Elysees for a 13-lap, 90-kilometre dash ahead of the arrival of the Tour de France peloton at the end of their three-week, 3500-kilometre journey.
On offer is $32,000 for the winner of the inaugural La Tour, in front of huge crowds and a race broadcast live to more than 100 countries across the world, including our own SBS.
Brad Worrall spoke to the Swiss-based Bigla Cycling Team rider about “that” ride and the races to come on her way from Germany to Paris for tomorrow’s race.
BW: Was it team tactics for you to have a go at the stage win in the Thüringen Rundfahrt tour?
TH: Not really, our team tactic was to have one of our riders in every break of the day and it just happened that I went with an attack only 10 kilometres into the 125-kilometre race. Usually an early break away doesn’t last until the end so I really wasn’t expecting to be out the front of the race for the entire day and certainly didn’t expect to finish second.
BW: Can you describe the feeling of being on the podium?
TH: It was a pretty amazing. I had been on the podium two other times in Europe this season but this podium result was definitely the highlight of my season this year. After being in a breakaway for 105 kilometres and being so exhausted it was a pretty emotional time when I crossed the finish and the reality of coming second in such a prestigious event actually hit me. The moment was made even more special as my husband, Ryan, was at the event cheering away and it meant so much to me to share this special moment with him.
BW: Does a result like that give you the confidence that you can match the best in the world?
TH: It gives me the confidence in my ability as a bike rider but there are exceptionally good bike riders out there. It gives me the confidence to know that all my hard work does actually pay off and I look forward to seeing how I perform for the rest of the season.
BW: Does it also change where you sit in the team pecking order?
TH: Our team does not really have a “pecking order”. We are a team and all the riders perform their roles in a race to achieve a great result for the team. Unfortunately only one of us stands on the podium but without the help of the rest of the team that one person would not be there.
BW: What does the rest of the European summer look like in terms of races/tours?
TH: I have a very busy eight week block of racing coming up with some very important races. I am racing the first women’s Tour De France race this Sunday — La Course by Le Tour De France. We are racing a 90 kilometre race on the Champs Elysees and finish just before the professional men race the same course and finish the Tour. I have three more world cup races including a teams time trial in Sweden in August and a tour in the Netherlands. A major goal of Bigla Cycling Team is to have a strong performance in the teams time trial world titles in Spain at the end of September so a lot of my focus will be on preparing for this event.
BW: Are you locked into your team for next year as well?
TH: At this point in time I am unsure if our team will be continuing next year — it is really hard to get sponsors to run a women’s cycling team. It would be a real shame if Bigla Cycling Team did not continue considering the fantastic results the team has achieved in its first year as a professional team. But at this moment I will be focusing on enjoying the last part of this season and make decisions about 2015 later in the year.
BW: Will you return to racing in Australia?
TH: Yes, I return to Australia in Oct-ober and after a little break off the bike I will return to racing domestically over our summer with Roxsolt, which is a team of Australian riders returning from the European season.