Monday, August 15, 2011

Timaru Herald Story

Charity Behind Auction

Skater makes cheeky contribution

CHEEKY ART: Timaru artist Marita Bool is making a ceramic of world champion speedskater Nicole Begg's bottom, which will be sold at the Rotary Charity Auction. Photo - JOHN BISSET/ The Timaru Herald

Former world champion speed skater Nicole Begg is not shy when it comes to charity.

The 24-year-old had no hesitation when it came to having a ceramic cast made of one of her better assets for the annual Rotary Timaru auction next month.

The South Canterbury Roller Skating Club is one of the two big organisations to benefit from the auction as it works to complete its world-class track on Caroline Bay, along with the St John defribrillator project promoted by Timaru surgeon Steve Earnshaw.

Begg said she wanted to do something different, having donated, skates, skating lessons and photographs for other charity auctions.

"Skating will benefit so I was certainly keen to help," she said.

So she mentioned the idea to arty friend Liz Le Roy, who thought artist Marita Bool would be perfect for the task.

The plaster cast was made, making good use of cling film and the good weather, with the ceramic almost completed for the September 3 auction.

Bool said she had produced unusual things before, but this was certainly different.

"Liz really talked me into it and Nicole took it her stride."

Begg is not shy when it comes to publicity.

In 2007 she courted controversy as she strove to lift her international profile and that of her sport by undressing.

A world champion skater at that time, she had a series of racy shots done for overseas magazines and websites and appeared on The Herald's front page. Her motivation was simply to increase her profile in the hope of luring a sponsor and also to increase the promotion of inline skating.

It certainly worked and even Playboy magazine ran her in its sportsperson section in its international edition.

Since then Begg has let her skating do her talking.

She heads to Korea today to compete in the world championships, so will miss the auction, and also looks a shoo-in to take out the World Inline Cup marathon series in October.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ostrava World Inline Cup

Last weekend I won the World Inline Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic. It was a repeat of last year on the start line, humming and harring over what wheels to wear. I think I made a wiser choice this year as the majority of the race was dry once again. There were a couple of light threatening showers during the race but nothing heavy enough to completely saturate the road. After two laps I broke away with three other skaters and by the end there were only two of us left. It came down to a sprint between myself and short track ice skater Katerina Novotna. Katerina is a European Champion and placed 6th at the last Olympic games. Winning in Ostrava now puts me well ahead on the overall points tally for the World Inline Cup with only two races left. Below is a video from both the men's and women's races in Ostrava.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dijon World Inline Cup

I didn't really get a chance to celebrate my birthday on Saturday because I had a 5.44am train to catch to Dijon on Sunday. I spent the day cleaning my bearings, changing wheels and packing my bag. But crossing the line on Sunday definitely made up for that.

For once there was absolutely no sign of rain on Sunday. I can recall frantically changing wheels on the start line previous years in Dijon. The course is always tough because the road is a little uneven and one straight is a false flat, which after 19 laps can take its toll.

Since I've had successful breakaway attempts this season and won Dijon in 2007 in a breakaway I thought I would give it another go. Early on I attacked and even though I created gaps and had a good mix of skaters away with me no one was ready to commit themselves quite that early. So nothing ever look like staying away, at least for the first quarter of the race. But I kept persisting and at one stage was away solo for a whole lap, but everyone still had enough energy left to work together and chase me down. There were a few other attacks made by Laetitia Le Bihan, Mareike Thum and Melissa Chouleysko but nothing ever got to the stage of looking dangerous.

Photo - Vincent Buin

I just kept attacking and with about seven or eight laps to go I saw an opportunity. I attacked around the top roundabout and coming off of the pack with speed I went full. No one followed me and after a quick glance back I stuck my head down and committed myself. After a couple of laps I had a lead of about 500 metres and then it started to grow. In the end I won by over a minute and a half. The spectators were amazing, every time I went past they would clap and cheer me on. I could also see the chasing group which can sometimes be a disadvantage because they can see you too, but on Sunday it was an advantage because I could see the gap grow lap by lap which kept me going.

Photo - © WIC - Alexander Pfiffner

It felt a little bit like deja vu crossing the finishing line alone. The French skater Justine Halbout had a strong sprint finish and won the pack sprint followed by her younger sister Clemence Halbout.

The men's race was also won in a breakaway by Bart Swings and coming in second was Yann Guyader. Peter Michael also racing for X-Tech MPC International missed getting on the nine man breakaway which escaped after only 7.5 km. However he did win the pack sprint and ended up finishing 10th.

Thanks to Alexandre Chartier and for the lift back to the train station. The trophy I won is big and made out of thick glass so it's heavy too. It may have to travel back to New Zealand with me as carry on luggage, literally being carried in my hand.

Friday, June 3, 2011


Here's an update of what I've been up to over the last few weeks and what's coming up.

At the Europa Cup event in Worgl I finished 2nd in the 5km points, 5th in the elimination, 500m and the 300m time trial.

World Inline Cup Incheon
I finished 4th in the World Inline Cup in Incheon, Korea. It was a tough race with nearly all of the top Korean and Chinese skaters present. I attacked early on and just kept attacking until one of the breakaways was successful. I had no energy left for the final sprint after all my attempts to escape, but by creating the breakaway I secured myself a top five position. I'm now leading the World Inline Cup competition.

Photo - Tiger Kim

New Track Project
The work on the new 200m bank track in Timaru, New Zealand is now well underway. The weather in Timaru last month wasn't very good which halted progress but now the rains gone and things are full steam ahead. Here are a few recent pictures.

Coming Up
The next race for me will be the World Inline Cup in Dijon, France which is on the 12th of June. Then the week after I will be racing in Ostrava which is also a World Inline Cup event. The final event before I head back home will be the Gigathlon in Switzerland.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

WIC Rennes

The dilemma in Rennes is usually what wheels to wear. Nearly every year it rains or at least threatens to rain. This year there was absolutely no rain in sight and I could step on the start line with no doubt in my mind that I had the right wheel on.

Unfortunately the fields weren’t as large as previous years; there have been a lot of races clash with one another this year. The course was 2.8 km a lap and had a bit of variety. There was a right hand corner leading into the finish straight and after the finish line there was a small section of tiles and then a small uphill. Around the other side of the course there were some nice straight stretches and just a few rough spots.

I attacked early after the first prime sprint which was on lap one, but no one was really keen to try lead with me. Cecilia was stuck to me like super glue the entire race but wasn’t keen to hit the lead whenever we formed a gap. It was clear from the start she just wanted to wait for the sprint finish.

Just before half way there were five of us left in the leading group which included Cecilia Baena, Justine Halbout, Melissa Chouleysko, Jessica Gaudesaboos and myself. Jessica dropped off early on and when I picked up the pace Melissa would yo-yo on and off the group. The only one that even attempted to lead was Melissa and apart from a few efforts at the front from her I lead the rest of the way.

Photo - Francois & Marie

Justine tried to get a jump about 1km out from the finish but wasn’t able to. I passed her leading into the right hand corner and Cecilia passed me about half way down the finishing straight to win the race. I finished 2nd, Justine 3rd and Melissa 4th. Samantha Michael skating for X-Tech Wheelz New Zealand finished up 9th again.

Photos - Francois & Marie

Bart Swings and Yann Guyader just caught Nicolas on the finishing straight and Bart took the victory.

I’m now in Worgl, Austria for the track racing this coming weekend. In Rennes I hurt my ankle a little by catching my skate in a rivet or bit of uneven road while on an outside edge. I saw a doctor today and it’s nothing too serious and I shouldn’t cause any more damage by skating but it will still be uncomfortable. So fingers crossed it’s a bit better by race time.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

I know I'm a day late but I didn't have time over the weekend to pop this up.

Happy Mothers Day

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Skate Off Heerde

I had another successful year at the Unive Skate Off Heerde, taking out the overall long distance title. The event was bigger than ever, with two new grades and a lot of European clubs supporting the event this year.

Racing started on Saturday morning with the 300 meter time trial qualifications. Even though a 300 isn't my forte I started anyway and finished up 9th with a time of 30.01. The cut off for qualification was 6th place with a time of 29.92, so I wasn't disappointing with my time. Next up we had the heats for the 500 meter race. Both the 500m and 300m counted towards the overall sprint title. I drew a tough heat and finished 3rd but qualified on time to the next round.

Photo - Jannes Wolff

On Saturday night we had the first of the long distance events, 10km points race. Last year it rained and this event had to be held on the road, this year it was chilly but absolutely no rain in sight. I had a tactic sorted out and decided that I would go for wheels with more roll over grip for this event. I wore 3 x 110mm MPC Ex Firm Road Wars and 1 x 100mm MPC Firm Road War on each skate.

The Cado Motus team started out strong dominating the front of the race with 6 skaters. I just sat in the pack and relaxed at the start of the race and let a few point laps go by before I challenged any. When I decided to go I then attacked off the front. Gaining a small gap on the group I stayed out in front alone for 5 laps, picking up 4 points. Once the pack caught back up I just sat in and recovered. Once I regained my breath and saw an opportunity I attacked again, picking up another 4 points. I done this another two times and finished up with a total of 16 points. Laetitia Le Bihan attacked over top of my last stint at the front and was able to pick up a few points at the end, finishing up with a total of 10 points. Elma de Vries also finished with 10 points but seeing Laetitia crossed the line first she took 2nd place and Elma 3rd.

Photo - Jannes Wolff

Sunday morning racing commenced with the 500 meter quarter finals. Even though 3 of the competitors who qualified didn't show up the heats weren't re drawn. So one of the quarter finals had 2 skaters who automatically qualified and another 3 skaters. Everyone fronted that was in my quarter final so no easy run for me. Jana Gegner took off straight from the gun and not being the quickest person off the line I didn't even have a chance to get on them. Erica Zanetti and Jana qualified for the semi's and Jana went on to win the final as well.

Jana Gegner won the sprint overall, Erika Zanetti 2nd and Paola Segura 3rd. I ended up finishing 8th overall in the sprint. Full results from the sprints over all the grades can be found online, click here to view.

Leading up to the 10km elimination race there was still a bit of sun on the track making it slicker than the night before. So I decided I would go for more grip than the previous night. I wore MPC Firm Road War for the front and back wheels and MPC Ex Firm Road Wars for the two middle wheels. I was concerned leading into the race that without team mates I would struggle against a team with 6 skaters.

The race began and Cado Motus hit the lead. I got in behind their last skater in the train and just held that position for a while. But once eliminations began it started getting a bit messy. With skaters able to swoop off the banking I found myself suddenly going from a really good position to a bad one instantly. I was also using too much energy just trying to hold the position. So with about 30 laps to go I went right to the front. I lead for the rest of the race and was never really challenged for the lead. Francesca Lollobrigida held my wheel for most the race and wasn't going to give it up that easily. Coming around with 1 lap to go I accelerated off the bend and no one was able to come past. Francesca finished 2nd and Elma 3rd.

Click here to view the video of the final 7 laps from
(Yes with about 3 laps to go there was a shoe on the top corner of the track)

I won the overall distance title, Elma de Vries 2nd and Laetitia Le Bihan 3rd. Full results from the distance races over all the grades can be found online, click here to view.

Photo - Jannes Wolff

The final event was a team skate off. This involved each team of 3 skaters completing 3 laps with the time being taken off the final skater from the team to cross the line. I joined up with Francesca Lollobrigida and Nele Armee to form a team. Our time was the 2nd fastest so we made it to the final run off with Cado Motus which was only about 5 minutes later. We decided I would lead 2 1/2 of the 3 laps, unfortunately Francesca didn't quite have the legs for the final and we finished 2nd. It was a good effort though seeing it was the first time we had ever skated together in a team situation with absolutely no preparation for the event.

It was a weekend full of great racing in all the grades. Big fields and a parabolic bank track made for some exciting passes and close finishes. In the senior men's grade Nicolas Pelloquin was flying and won both of the sprint events and Bart Swings dominated the points race, winning the distance overall.

There are plenty of pictures online from the weekend.