Yes, I know it’s a bit late. A new year means I need to do some work to my blog! Stay tuned for updates and a blog make-over!
Time: 2hour 40minutes
Today’s stage was shortened from 110km to 95km. No complaints here though We started in Lucca, home of the USA National team house. After the longest neutral ever (we did laps around the walled city), we finally were off. A few kilometers later, we were stopped again in traffic. Guess it made since why they shortened the race. We were originally supposed to do a couple of loops around Lucca before heading towards Florence, but the traffic was bad at that time of day so they cut the loops out. Shortly into the race, it started raining. Then it started pouring. It rained so hard I thought it was hailing at times. There were rivers running down the roads, puddles all over. It was miserable. I didn’t take any chances. I found myself near the back of the pack. There was a split in the group, but it eventually came back together. It rained off and on the rest of the day. Sometimes we were on dry pavement, other times we were on some very slick Italian roads. Scary, to say the least! The USA National team controlled most of the race. About 10km from the finish, Charlotte attacked and took two other riders with her. Her attack was about 1km from the start of the final climb. The group tried to react, but the gap was already created and it was clear the break wasn’t coming back. Claudia Hausler attacked on the climb with Megan Guarnier in tow. This caused a reaction from the other G.C. riders, which split the peloton. The final was technical and sketchy. We went on narrow roads with lots of cars, turns, and cobbles. Charlotte sprinted for the win, making it a total of 6 of 7 stage wins here in the tour. Megan Guarnier from the USA National team won the overall G.C. Very impressive!! Today’s race was the last race for HTC-Highroad. It was an honor to be a part of the team. I have learned so much this year from my teammates and staff. Thank you to everyone who has been involved with the team!
Now I’m hanging out in Lucca, Italy for a few days. For those of you who haven’t heard, I am going to World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark for the road race. In short, I was the first reserve for the squad and was asked to take a spot that had opened up on Friday. I’m super excited to be a part of the team again this year! More updates to come later! Thanks for stopping by!
Time: 2hours 55minutes
We started today’s stage with just three riders (Ally, Charlotte, and myself). Everyone else pulled out to prepare for the World Championships. Charlotte and I are doing the World Championship road race, but that isn’t until Sept. 24th, so we continued on. The field keeps getting smaller every day as people pull out. Today was another hard stage. We did four laps of a circuit before heading off to the final climb and back down to the finish. The climb on the circuit was around 2km in length and averaged probably around 5-6percent. It was hard enough to split the group. However, the downhill was fast and the rest of the course was flat. The peloton came back together every lap. I attacked on lap two up the climb. Three other riders came with me. We had a good gap and were working well together, but were chased down and caught. Shortly after we were caught, more attacks happened and a group got away. The group stuck until the final climb. Trixi Worrack was off the front solo and won the stage. The field shattered on the last climb. Charlotte and I made one of the chase groups, but never made contact with leaders. It was a hard day on a brutal course. Fellow American, Megan Guarnier, is in the pink jersey and took third on today’s stage putting more time into 2nd place G.C. rider Claudia Hausler. Tomorrow is the last stage. Should be another fast and furious day!
Time: 3minutes 9seconds
The second stage of the day was a late start. My start time was 9:32pm. That’s almost 12 hours between starts of races in one day. The course was pretty straight forward. The lighting was good, but any time you race in the dark, your perception is thrown off a bit. I got in a shorter warm-up than usual. My objective for this stage was to save as much energy as possible for the upcoming stages. Not much to say about my race. I went slow in the corners, and tried to go hard, but not too hard on the rest of the course. I finished with a time of 3minutes 9seconds, which put me in 14th place. Judith won the time trial with a time of 2minutes 55seconds. Megan Guarnier (USA) was second with a time of 3minutes. The late start made for a late night, but at least we got pizza for dinner!
Time: 1hour 35minutes
Today is a double day. We woke up way too early, making it for a very long day! Start time was 10:00am, which meant eating breakfast by 7:30am and leaving by 8:00am. The first stage was short and flat. We did five laps before heading to the finishing town 20km away. The lap consisted of a small hill and really crappy roads. I had a rear flat on one of the laps. Fortunately, the bunch wasn’t going full gas at this point and I was able to catch back on easy. Several riders tried to go in breaks today, but nothing stuck. This made the pace pretty high for the entire race. Again, our goal was to win. Judith put in a massive pull 5km out from the finish. Ina took the win in impressive style. My job for the day was to stay in a good position in case anything dangerous went. Otherwise, I was supposed to try and recover for the next couple of stages. Mission accomplished. We started with two less riders today. Katie and Chloe both pulled out to begin the rest and final preparation for World Championships. This will be happening more in the next couple of days as the World’s time trial is on Tuesday of next week and the road race is on Saturday. It’s a bummer that the two are so close this year! All right, next up is a 2.2km time trial…at night. Should be fun…
What a day! As you can see from the profile, today’s stage was epic. Not only in the length of the stage, but also the final 40km. Goal for the day: Win! The race started off pretty active. There were breaks that would stick for a little bit, but then get caught. At one point, the race got really hard and things were put into the gutter. This put the peloton in a single file line due to the crosswind we were experiencing. I made my way towards the front, knowing I was going to have to attack soon. Ina attacked and got a small gap with a few others. Once they were caught, I launched my attack. A few riders came with me. We all worked really hard to establish the break. It looked as if it was going to get away, but it was shut down my a team who already had a rider in the break (??). Once we were caught, Trixi Worrack attacked. I didn’t see any HTC riders with her, so I went again. The girls who were with us, weren’t pulling through and we got caught by the peloton. This was all happening just before the 2nd climb in the profile (around the 50km mark). Trixi attacked again, this time taking only my teammate, Charlotte Becker. The peloton sat up, as riders were getting tired of chasing down attacks. The two got a solid gap on the remaining peloton. By this point, the main group was maybe 30riders. A few riders organized at the front to start chasing the duo. In the group, we had Ina, Judith, and myself. Since we had a teammate up the road, we sat in and recovered a bit. We eventually caught Charlotte. Since Trixi was out front alone, it was our turn to chase. Ina and Charlotte took turns drilling it on the front. For me, I was trying to recover and save energy for the final climbs. However, I could tell my body was letting me know I had crashed the day before. I went from feeling pretty good earlier in the race, to struggling holding onto the wheel in front of me. It could have been that Ina and Charlotte are motors though. They brought the 2minute 30second gap down to 45seconds by the team we hit the first climb up Volterra. I was unable to hold the pace, and dropped off the group. Ina and Judith were together up the road. My race was all about survival from then on. The first time up the climb, I was in a bad place. I had the chills and really struggled to keep pressure on the pedals. I quickly drank some fluid, hoping it would help for the next time up the climb. I was dropped from the small group I was with near the top, but caught them on the descent. I was able to recover some before we went back up the hill we just came down. I came across the line in 25th place. Ina was great support for Judith in the main group. From the sounds of it, Judith attacked a few times before the finish and split the group a bit more. There was still a select group at the finish line, in which Judith out sprinted to take the win! Today was another great display of team work. Tomorrow is a double day, so time to rest and recover!
The stage today showed two hills. Last year’s course went up a significant climb. However, the course was different this year and the hill was non-existent. Our goal for the day was to win. I hope you’re catching on to a theme here. Things started off pretty mellow. Then we started attacking. Nothing was sticking due to the nature of the course. We did several loops of different routes. The final loops crossed the finish line six times. Eventually a rider got off the front solo. She put nearly three minutes into the field. Around 70km into the race, we started to bring the girl back. I was told to try and conserve for the upcoming stages, rather than work the front. So I tried to follow wheels and stay out of the wind. Judith and Charlotte put in some fierce attacks once the girl was caught. Several times, a large group rolled off the front with them. Individual riders closed the gaps. It was clear that this was coming down to a sprint. I tried to hold a decent position in the last 5km, and was sitting in the top 40. With 2km there was a right hand turn. I was on the outside of the group. A girl in front of me slid out. To avoid completely running into her, I hit the brakes. Apparently I had too much speed, and my bike slid out in front of me as well. I slid a few feet on the pavement, but bounced right back up and grabbed my bike. I was back on and pedaling before the end of the peloton came by. Ina was in good hands with Judith, Charlotte, and Chloe looking after her in the sprint. Chloe gave Ina an awesome lead out into the final left hand corner that was 200meters from the finish. Ina took the sprint ahead of current World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini. It was a great day for the team (minus the crashes). Katie crashed in a different corner earlier in the race. We are both ok and looking forward to the rest of the tour. Tomorrow is a big day!