Here we are at the start of a fresh new season, and with new seasons come questions. The biggest being who did their homework in the offseason? There are other questions as well, as some riders have switched teams. Questions such as "Is the new team a good fit?" or "Will so and so like his or her new bike?" But the biggest question is where is everyone at in their fitness after an Olympic year. The Olympics put a special stress on riders and can leave them a bit out of the game the following season. The curse of the Olympics is much like the curse of the rainbow jersey, except it can affect anyone. It's no small thing carrying the stress of a nation's pride on your shoulders, much less having to maintain a peak for both Worlds and the Games. It is no wonder why the season after an Olympic year is such an interesting one. That's not to say there aren't exceptions to the rule, there always are. That said, we got the season underway today with the Women Elite and U23 men racers here in Nove Mesto, and interesting racing it was indeed.
Annika Langvad came into this season with the rainbow jersey, and she came out swinging today to take the win in commanding fashion. She took the lead after the start lap from Linda Indergand and never looked back. Langvad finished a minute up on the second place Sabine Spitz. Rumor had it that Sabine was retiring, but apparently, she couldn't stay away. While the front of the field suffered flats and other mechanicals, Sabine used her years of racing expertise to charge her way to second place. Worst retirement ever or best? Either way, it was one hell of a ride. For the U23 men Norway's Petter, Fagerhaug battled it out with Martins Blums to take the win and Sasu Halme took third. So far it has been a very exciting start to the season, and we have another day of racing tomorrow.