Nadine Gill is the winner of the 2019 L’Étape Australia by Tour de France. She is a German amateur cyclist who lives in Brazil. Nadine recently signed a contract with a strong Spanish team and gives herself two more years to become a professional. She recently share with us this story.
After L’Étape Australia by Tour de France in November 2019, I had the chance to flight to Europe and race the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana – my second UCI race so far – as a guest rider for the Spanish club Team Belori. Despite arriving sick in Spain, I was able to finish 15th overall, 8:41 behind Anna Van Der Breggen who took the win on that day.
Then, as we all know there were no races until July. For me, it was very difficult to keep training in São Paulo due to the pandemic situation in Brazil. When I heard there was a chance I could race the first races of the “new” season in Spain, motivation came back!
I flew to Europe and raced the Classica Navarra (which was a bit too flat for me) and Durango-Durango at the end of July, where I finished “best amateur rider”. It was also the “home race” of my current team, Bizkaia Durango, and I agreed to join them for the rest of the season, with the Giro Rosa as a highlight.
I knew the Giro Rosa might be way too big of a race for a rookie like me, but as I’m still working as a diplomat in Brazil, I’m not able to race a lot and the idea was to get as much experience as possible before turning pro next year. I approached the Giro Rosa as nine individual races!
This edition of the Giro Rosa didn’t suit me that well comparing to previous editions as most of the stages were similar to the classics, and the peloton would stay together until the few final kilometres. As I’m still very inexperienced at riding in a professional peloton, it was difficult for me to remain positioned correctly, meaning I couldn’t show my potential in any of the stages. Nonetheless a top 20 finish seemed quite realistic until stage 8… and then the “crosswind hell” happened! I was again in a bad position when the peloton split, and I found myself at the back of the race, with only a few riders in the incredibly strong wind. There was no second chance on that day. I lost 16 minutes to the stage winner, and my GC position dropped from 23rd to 36th. In the end, I finished 33rd in the GC.
The second last day taught me an important lesson (in addition to the many other things I learned on this “cycling for dummies” 9-day adventure): things can happen very quickly, and you might not be able to recover from it, even if you still have good legs!
In the end, my favourite day of the race will remain the “Strade Bianche” stage, even though it was the first time on the gravel for me.
I’m now back to Brazil, for the last 3 months of work. After that, I decided to take two years of unpaid leave to try my luck at becoming a professional rider in Europe.
Wish me luck.