Songs and jokes as the race rages on: Checking in with Lizzie Williams after Giro Rosa stage six

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Australian cyclist Lizzie Williams is racing the Giro Rosa, the longest (and only) Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, for the first time this year. And to give you a-behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to race at the highest level and at one of the most prestigious races in women’s cycling, Lizzie graciously agreed to do daily check-ins for the next 10 days of racing -no matter what might happen.

Read all her diary entries here.

Also be sure to check out Tiffany Cromwell’s diary as she is racing and writing about her eighth Giro.

Word of the day: Content

Result of the day: 55th // Read about stage six in the Ella race report.

The racing: sitting in and staying out of trouble

With three categorised climbs, numerous uncategorised ramps and technical descents, today’s stage was the toughest day of Giro Rosa yet. An important stage for general classification hopefuls, the race was fast from the start with a break of five going clear on the very first climb.

Without a real overall contender, it was a day of survival for the Orica-AIS gals, who are now left with just four riders after Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt and Chloe McConville called it quits.

“Today was more of a recovery day to try and conserve a little bit for the days coming up. Tomorrow is a stage where we’re going to want to be in a breakaway, and I’m going to have a go at it.

Today was a good day. I enjoyed it. I had already ridden the course so I knew what was ahead. I was able to stay with the lead group over the first climb, which I was very happy with, but when we got to the second climb, the pace was simply too high for me to match.

I found a good group to ride with, which included [fellow Aussie] Carlee Taylor (Lotto Soudal), so I had someone to chat with.

We mainly talked about how the hill just didn’t stop. The climb kept going forever, and I ended up singing ‘This is a hill that never ends…’ and then Carlee jumped in with another song.

We just try to joke and laugh around to keep our minds off the pain.”

Car games

“The transfer today was well over three hours and our sport director Genes [Bates] was tired of being in the car. So Rachel [Neylan] Googled some car games for us. We ended up played games all the way back, for three hours.

The first game we played was this alphabet game, where you have to find objects outside of the car that start with the letter A, then B, then C and so on. It’s a brilliant game because it took forever! We all got stuck on the letter I. But then Gene cheated, and then, the game ended.

We then went on to another game called “Would you rather?”

For example: “Would you rather walk on a plank between two sky scrapers or would you rather swim from island to island in the middle of the ocean?”

Of course, I wanted to know the conditions: Would I be wearing a harness? And would I be swimming in a shark cage?

In the end, I choose the ocean.

Anyway – it was a fun way to take the mundane out of travelling.”

Beach time

After a four-hour transfer, the team arrived on the Ligurian coast. We cut our check-in with Lizzie short today as she and her teammates made their way to the beach after dinner for a chance to soak the legs in some salt water – a much needed relief after another long, hot stage.

The Giro Rosa continues on Friday with the shortest stage of the race. The stage starts and finishes in coastal towns and takes in the mountains between – two steep categorised climbs before a long technical descent to the finish. A time trial is on the schedule for the following day before the GC contenders battle it out on the last stage, which ends with a mountain-top finish.

We’ll be checking in with Lizzie again tomorrow after stage seven. In the meantime, there’s lots more Giro Rosa content for you to enjoy on Ella!

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