Joyful and triumphant: Checking in with Lizzie Williams after the final stage of her first Giro Rosa

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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.

THANK YOU Lizzie for the daily check-in and for sharing your first Giro experience with Ella! We so enjoyed getting to hear and share your stories.

Read all of Lizzie’s diary entries here.

And if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Tiffany Cromwell’s diary about her eighth Giro Rosa.

Word of the day: I just feel happy, joyful and relieved!

Result of the day: 50th in stage nine, 41st in the overall classification // Read about stage eight in the Ella race report.

Lizzie posted this tweet following the final day of her first Giro Rosa. She said that photo perfectly depicts exactly how she was feeling: tired, relieved but happy.

The racing

I died a thousand deaths today. But I’m happy now that it’s over.

The race started at a blistering pace again, like it was the first stage of the tour, and it didn’t let up. In fact, I read somewhere that it was the fastest hour of racing for the whole tour. It was once again a race to the first hill just 7km into the stage. The road was really narrow so you had to be in good position for that climb. So it was pretty much a sprint to the climb and then there were attacks up the climb and after the climb. Admittedly, I was one of those people doing the attacks as well, trying to get away.

I was away for a bit with Tiffany Cromwell on the descent. It was a very aggressive race but Rabo Liv wouldn’t let anything get away. When a break formed, they’d just get to the front and reel it back in. They absolutely controlled it.

I probably gave four or five decent attacks and was jumping on wheels trying to get away but nothing worked, and then we had a bit of a mad rush to the day’s big climb as well. The way I was racing, I wasn’t even thinking about the hill that coming. I just gave it my all.

Giro Rosa 2015 Balint

I got to the base of the climb alright but then the climbers upped the level a notch, and I was done. Were like 20km from the finish, and that 20km was all uphill and I had nothing. So I grovelled up the climb at my own pace, which was quite nice though because I was climbing by myself and there were a lot of people on the sides of the road yelling “Bravo!” and “Forza!” –it was a really great atmosphere.

Toward the end, I was really creeping, almost falling off my bike, and people kept asking if I wanted water but I just wanted people to push me so I was getting a lot of men pushing me up the hill, which was very helpful.

At the finish, there were heaps of people. I was coming in by myself but it felt like I was winning the tour the people cheered so hard. So I just put up my hands, enjoying the moment.

About the Giro Rosa experience

Definitely a positive experience overall -especially now that’s it done! I am pretty happy with how it went and I’ll be back…hopefully.

Funny aside: Potty Police

On the way home, I got an education in Italian folk music in the car. I also really had to go to the bathroom. I hadn’t gone since before the stage, which was like five hour long, and I had drank about 10 bidons.

“We’ll stop at the next service station in about 20k,” I was told.

Twenty kilometres later, no service station.

But there was a toll. At that point, I couldn’t wait any longer, so I got out of the car and headed for the bushes. As I’m going about my business, I hear these sirens. I thought they were just passing, but as I look up, I’m seeing that we’re being pulled over by the police who want to know what we’re doing stopped at the side of the road.

“I coudn’t wait!” I exclaimed to the cops as I came back to the car. “Do we get a fine for that?”

Luckily we didn’t and the cops just cracked up laughing.

A big thank you again to Lizzie for sharing her first Giro Rosa experience with us on Ella!

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