In His Own Words: Dave McPartland on Thüringen Rundfahrt Stage 4

Sun 5 Aug 2012

Judith Arndt time trialed into the yellow jersey on the Thüringen Rundfahrt stage four time trial. Finishing second on the stage, Arndt leads the general classification by five seconds over Trixi Worrack (Specialized-lululemmon) with overnight race leader Emma Johansson (Hitec Products  - Minstral Home) down by eight seconds. Sports Director Dave McPartland describes the day.

If you ask me how Judith rode today, I’d tell you she was bloody excellent. She was absolutely on fire during her entire time trial effort. If you ask her what she thought of her ride, she’d tell she had a bad day. She’d say that because she didn’t win. Judith crossed the line on the same second as Trixi Worrack. The win came down to tenths of a second, and Trixi, in 29:49.220, edged out Judith by seven tenths of a second. Judith is a bit pissed off by that. It’s just the kind of person she is. It’s a part of her personality, and we have to respect that. In fact, I think it's admirable.

Technically, Judith put forth a perfect race with one exception. She came into the final corner with too big of a gear. We had done a recon of the course three or four times, so Judith knew the corner well. It was particularly tricky because it’s a hard left hand turn onto cobbles. Judith had ridden through it quickly and slowly, testing out different combinations of speed and gearing. She said nothing compared to the fast speed she had in the race when she came into the corner. She realized she was in the wrong gear, but it too late to make a change, so she stayed with the gear she had chosen. She probably last two or three seconds in that last corner. It’s where she lost the stage.

While Judith may still be lamenting her second place finish, I’m thrilled that she took the yellow jersey. She’s leading the Tour with two stages left to race. It’s no secret that we’re here to win the general classification, and we’re in a good position to accomplish this objective.

Claudia remains in the KOM jersey after today’s time trial. There were no QPM points today, so her lead wasn’t under threat. We’re hoping Claudia will continue racing. We had a strange incident with her today during the time trial, and at this point, it’s not 100% certain she will continue.

Claudia started the day in eighth overall, and she wanted to ride the time trial full gas as a result. I think she had been in a good position for a strong result when a dropped chain wreaked havoc on her race. The incident occurred in the same corner where Judith had some trouble. 

Claudia attempted to get the chain back on the big ring while she was on her bike, but she couldn’t manage it – so she hopped off her bike to do it herself, and somehow, in the process, she managed to dislocate her shoulder. It’s still not entirely exactly what happened, but it is absolutely clear that she had pulled her arm out of her shoulder joint. Her arm was just dangling.

She asked a spectator for help in German, and the woman, who we later learned was a non-German speaking Australian, was unable to offer any assistance. Claudia tried to run to the finish line with her bike, but she couldn’t really run properly with the way her arm was hanging. She ended up popping her arm back into her shoulder herself, and she lost more than two minutes in the end. She’s still pretty distraught about the whoel thing.

I spoke to the Australian spectator after the race, and although she saw the incident, she couldn’t explain what had happened. Claudia is still in a pretty emotional state, and she doesn’t know how the dislocation occurred either. I tried to get her a bit of an assessment post-race, but she said she was mostly okay – that her arm was just sore. It seems like she’s more upset about the incident than she is actually physically hurt, but I’d still like her to get checked out after dinner. It’s too early to say if she’ll be at the start of the race with us tomorrow. Of course, we all certainly hope she will be.

Stage five will be a typical Thüringen stage. We’ll race a large loop over undulating roads before we hit the finish circuit for three and half laps around the Markt. The loop includes several sharp, steep pitches that will make for an exciting, aggressive finale. We're eager to defend Judith's yellow jersey.