Sunday, 6 July 2008


Welcome to the Giro! I say that on behalf of our ten member team. One director sportif; Warren McDonald. One mechanic; Wayne Nichols. Two soigneurs; Christine O’Connor And Beth Duryea. And six athletes; Carlee Taylor, Tiffany Cromwell, Sara Carrigan, Nikki Egyed, Vicki Whitelaw and myself. It was a three hour drive from the AIS base in Castronno Italy, south east to ‘Mantova’. Forty steps led us to the third floor of our building, and the passage way led us to our little heat box of a room. We had a few hours of relaxation prior to racing and it was clear that I wouldn‘t be spending this optional time in my room! Vicki and I chose the single beds by the window, meaning that Carlee (pictured below) scored the double in the centre, which is why the huge mosquito welts all over her body are such a surprise!

It was a 3 minute ride to our time trial start. We were randomly seeded yet I managed to score the first run at 8:30pm, with the last rider off at 10pm! We were decked out with time trial helmets and disk wheels for the massive 1.2kms. It was short, hard, and after doing the turn 10 times in warm up, I snail paced around it, finishing 34th. Carlee was lucky enough to hold it up on the corner after skipping her back wheel, and then spent an hour trying to find her way back to the hotel. She took a wrong turn and approached the police for help, but with only four words of Italian in her vocabulary they were forced to bring in an interpreter. Just as they were loading her into the car and announcing her name over a loud speaker, Tiff’s Dad came to the rescue and she was home just in time for gelati.

After a sleepless night (I would guesstimate a solid 4 hours due to siesta), we made the 1.5 hour trek to the start of stage 1 in ‘Asola’. It was 130kms of head wind on a pancake flat course finishing in ‘Lendinara’. The day was uneventful to say the least, and if I had to pick a highlight it would be a toss up between Nikki being called an ‘idiot’ over the loud speaker during team sign on for not knowing her race number, and when Carlee shit herself after I screamed ‘occhio!’ and slapped her thigh just for a good laugh. It was a positive thing that the temperatures were soaring, as it meant that feeding from the car was required often, and people were fighting to return to the convoy just to break the boredom. I ran over about 4 bidons, had melted nutella smeared all over my bike, and allowed Oenone Wood to convince me to stay on for a holiday at the end of the season.

The race heated up in the final 20kms for the predicted mass finish. There wasn’t a single crash among the 130 starters, and even the forgetfulness of Wazza in radioing through the left hand corner at 200m to go couldn’t bring us down! I finished in 12th, and I only mention it because it brings our team earnings to 6 euro each. Another transfer has bought us to ‘Rosolina Mare’, where I have access to a mirror and visions of my glorious arm, leg, sock, neck, helmet strap and sunnies tan lines…and even two small forehead ones from the air holes in my helmet! On a more positive note, we celebrated Tiff’s 20th birthday today! A gelati cake was organised, along with chocolates for a final dessert, of which most hadn’t survived the heat (pictured above). With Tiff sorting through presents, Nikki on the phone to her partner Tyler, and the Tour de France highlights on television, it’s a happy vibe in the room tonight.

Results: Giro Donne, Prologue, Mantova, 1.2kms
Results: Giro Donne, Stage 1, Road Race, Asola - Lendinara, 131.5kms