Giro Donne Stage 9: Aglie’ – Ceresole Reale

12 Jul

The Statistics

Start time: 12:00pm

Distance: 108km

Start Location: Aglie’, Italy

End Location: Ceresole Reale, Italy

Race Time: 3hours 15minutes

Average Speed: 33kph

Altitude Gained: 5800feet

The Race

Nine hard days of racing are now in the books.  One more stage tomorrow and it’s a 16km time trial.  Sure, it’s short, but time trialing is never easy!  Today’s race started off on a short descent.  It wasn’t anything technical.  I started at the back of the field (last minute pee stop).  It took me forever to move up, as it was game on instantly.  I really struggled at the beginning of today’s race.  Eventually I made it to the front.  Charlotte was off the front with two other girls.  We slowly started to catch them.  Girls were trying to bridge.  I followed one of the “jumpers” and made contact with the group.  Charlotte fell off the uphill pace, as the break drove the pace.  The group started working together, but not fully organized.  The peloton was lingering behind us, and definitely in sight.  At 20km into the race, there was a mid-race time bonus sprint.  Our goal was to make sure 4th place G.C. rider, Guderzo, didn’t soak up the time.  She sits very close to Judith in G.C., and we wanted to protect the 3rd place spot.  I attacked on the slight uphill to the sprint and got a gap from our dwindling break-away.  After the sprint, I was joined by 8(ish) riders and we started working hard together.  Our gap grew slowly.  Finally it went above 1 minute and directors were allowed to come up to the break.  Ronny told me not to work, as Emma Johanssen was in the break and was close to Judith in G.C.  I sat on, as everyone else rolled through.  Later on, he came back up and told me I could work if the gap was less than two minutes.  And so I did.  Closing in on the final climb, it started to rain.  The group was still working well together, but the gap was starting to come down.  With about 15km to go, Claudia Hausler attacked the break and took Emma J. with her.  I couldn’t cover the move.  A few kilometers later, I attacked the remains of the break-away to try and bridge to the two leaders.  It was unsuccessful, but only three riders were able to follow.  We were now on the steep part of the climb.  We took turns setting the pace.  Eventually we were caught by Marianne Vos and Emma Pooley.  As we entered the “doom” tunnel, Judith’s group caught me.  I stuck with them until Guderzo attacked.  Judith followed.  I spent the rest of the way trying to find a rhythm on the relentless climb.  It was a 3km portion of the climb that was in a tunnel.  The gradient of the climb was very hard to read.  It was a suffer fest.  As we came out of the tunnel, we were greeted by the 3km to go sign.  The next few kilometers weren’t nearly as steep, but they still hurt.  I managed to make my way up two three riders, and we rode together until the finish.  Judith picked up 3rd on the stage, putting more time into the 4th place G.C. rider (Guderzo).  Vos and Pooley attacked each other all the way up the climb, with Vos finally sticking an attack in the final hundred meters of the race to pick up the win.  It was great day on the bike, with lots of climbing and views.  I wish I had the time to look around and actually enjoy it.  Maybe someday…Tomorrow is the final day here at the Giro.  Only 16km’s to go!  They will be hard though, as it’s an individual time trial.  More to come!

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