A double stage means an early start for Vicki, Carlee and I to venture the 1km to the breakfast room, while the others sleep in and opt for a bowl of cereal in bed. It’s now day three, with stage 3 presenting improved presents on the sign-on podium. My tin full of shortbread biscuits was donated to the race car today, but seeing as Vicki is wheat intolerant, and I am her only room-mate, I know where her biscuits will end up when we return to the AIS base in Italy! It was a short hard stage this morning, with a GPM in the first 10kms seeing Vicki run second. Despite her tally of points we decided to give up the chase for the climber’s jersey and focus on stage victory. The final 20kms would see us complete a 5km circuit, four times, that comprised a 1km climb. (Pictured below: Nitis our mechanic)
It was the third lap that saw a decent bunch of 20 lose contact, and as Leonie relented to save herself for the days to come, Vicki found herself up the road. Tiff was covering EVERY move, I was keeping a close eye on Rochelle, and Carlee was positioning herself in preparation for attacks on the climb. Then the coin flipped when Vicki’s break was termed unsuccessful, and the pressure was back on Rochelle to pull off a stage victory. I suffered over the last climb, saw Vicki perform lead-out duties, and watched on as Bronzini took yet another stage win… Rochelle finishing as brides maid for the third time! It would take a half hour kip, some ‘Powerbar’ protein, and a visit to some awful smelling public squatters to prepare me for the afternoon’s stage.
Rochelle would be starting stage 4 in the green points jersey, and was disappointed as it would be covering the ‘Teschner’ on her jersey! Team sign-on was similar to days gone by, but this time, after receiving an umbrella each, a single ‘team’ rose was given out. Carlee thinks she was given the privilege because she is the youngest, but I stick by the pity vote, as she was still struggling to open her umbrella when team photos were being taken! We made small talk prior to the start, contemplating as to whether we should call ourselves by our middle names to disguise talk on the radio, or by code name, but figured it would confuse us just as much as it would opposing teams! (Pictured below: Beth our soigneur)
We completed four laps of a circuit that was in desperate need of some road re-surfacing, and after 83 continuous days in the saddle, it’s double stages like this that your ‘behind’ prays for a break! Despite team Bigla’s relentless attacks, we approached the day’s end all together. With a climb 4kms from the finish the race would be hard for us to control. It was here that three girls rode clear (including stage favourite Bronzini), leaving us with a decent amount of chasing to do. Vicki dragged Rochelle over the climb and I bought back the break…it was now 1km to go. With a lack of team mates in the finishing straight, Rochelle was left to fight the wind, rolling in for seventh. But…not every stage turns out how you had planned.
Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 3, Orval – Saint-Amand-Montrond, 56.4kms
Results: Trophee D'Or, Stage 4, Sancoins – Orval, 73.6kms