updated 19 Aug 2010, 09:35
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Wed, Aug 18, 2010
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These girls love to rough it out
by Chia Han Keong

AMID the sweltering morning sun yesterday, 31 girl cyclists got themselves spattered in fresh mud as they endured lung-bursting climbs up rocky slopes and carried their bikes down the treacherous terrain at the Tampines Bike Park.

Needless to say, the crosscountry cycling race is not an ordinary girl's cup of tea.

However, the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) cyclists seemed to relish every moment of this gruelling 15.5km race, even as they grimaced and grunted their way around the winding circuit.

"I switched from cross-country skiing to this," said race winner Karolina Kalasova of the Czech Republic, in between heavy panting after her exertions. She then looked at her mud-stained jersey, smiled and added: "I like this much more than skiing."

The 18-year-old was in second place behind race favourite Linda Indergrand of Switzerland for four of the five race laps, before a late surge propelled her to victory.

However, she has not won her gold yet. The YOG cycling competition is a team event consisting of the participation of three boys and a girl.

While the boys can each specialise in one of the three disciplines - cross-country, BMX or time trial - the girl must compete in all three.

Gold will go to the country with the best overall results. So, while Karolina is happy with her cross-country race win, she is worried as she is far less proficient in her remaining two events.

"I hope to rely on the boys' performances," she said.

Yet, it surely takes a different kind of girl to be able to enjoy the rough-and-tumble nature of this unique cycling discipline.

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