Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche: Stage 6

13 Sep

Statistics:

Distance: 73km

Time: 2hours 5minutes

Speed: 34kph

The final stage was anything but easy.  Even though it was the shortest stage, it was one of the hardest.  We climbed over 1200meters in total.  The race started off with a bit of a climb, before descending into the major climb of the day.  This climb was 6km in length, with an average gradient of 5%.  Luckily, we had a tailwind going up the climb.  The bunch stayed together until about 2.5km from the top.  Emma Pooley threw down an attack.  I followed, along with the other G.C. contenders and a few other riders.  We rotated through at the top of the climb, but were eventually caught.  The Russian national team had missed the break, so they drilled the pace and caught us.  Ally and Emilia were in the chase group.  Evie did not start today, as she was preparing for a time trial the next day.  Amber was also preparing for the time trial, but opted to ride the race at an easier pace to recover as much as possible.  We descended for quite some time.  The next major point was at 57km into the race.  There was a short and steep climb.  Emma Pooley attacked again.  This time only four other riders were able to hold the pace.  I dug as deep as I could to stick with the attack, as the riders only two seconds ahead of me were in the split as well.  The last 500meters of the climb were hard and Emma wasn’t letting up on her pace.  We finally reached the top and started the long descent to the finish.  A small group chased on to our group on the descent.  Emilia was in it.  This was a great situation for us.  At 5km to go, Emilia attacked.  She got a gap, but was chased down by Emma Pooley.  A few kilometers later, Emma attacked.  She was chased down eventually.  Emilia hit the front at about 700 meters to go.  The finish was technical, with a sharp right hand turn in a round-a-bout 50 meters from the finish.  The motorbike went straight in the turn, taking the group with.  Once we realized it, we all turned as quickly as possible and sprinted the final 50meters from a dead stop.  Emilia was the first one into the corner, and the first one across the line.  So incredibly cool to see!  I came in behind Emilia for 2nd place.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to put any seconds on the two riders ahead of me.  So I finished 4th in G.C., just two seconds off 2nd.  I also won the young rider competition.  Emilia won four of the seven stages.  As a team, we won five of the seven. We took the team G.C. as well.  It was a very successful tour for us.  We all had a lot of fun and enjoyed racing our bikes!

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