Pumped to finish my second Tour in the top ten. This year has been a big step forward for me. It was so fun to be in the fight for top ten places this year. This is always where I've felt I was capable of skiing and it has been satisfying to now be getting consistently solid results.
Today wasn't my strongest day but it was amazing to see my teammate Liz Stephen finish with the eighth fastest climb and my teammate Holly Brooks finish the Tour with a broken wrist! Having teammates definitely made this Tour more enjoyable and helped me stay relaxed. It's so encouraging to see our team more and more respected and more competitive each year.
It was also fun to knab third in the sprint standings. Now a short rest before we get back to sprinting in Milan!
I was nervous, for sure, but also excited and anxious to finish up. Liz and I skied down the Alpe Cermis the other day so we had a small idea of what to expect. There was a lot of hurting going on out there and even some granny skating. However, I watched Dario do it as well so that made me feel better.
The wave start with the majority of the women's field was utter chaos. I liken it to a gigantic cat fight. The entire flat section to the base of the Cermis is 1.5 skaters wide and you can imagine a bunch of hungry girls vying for position the entire time, broken poles, yelling, etc. Once we got to the climb things sorted themselves out a bit but my best skis took a gigantic beating - lots of holes and scratches from other girls. People were attempting to pass on the inside of the uphill switchback corners and skis would get tangled or girls would get their skis caught in the gates.
Liz's climb today was absolutely brilliant and Kikkan put together an amazing set of races. I'm proud to be a part of this team and yes, I think it speaks positively looking ahead to Sochi. Everyone seems to be improving every year and everyone gets along really well. Positive team dynamics are crucial and I think we have a good thing going!
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS