A sausage in the bonnet and a jump off the pier: Lizzie Williams’ stage seven Giro Rosa diary

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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: Positive. Today during the race I made a conscious effort to give myself positive reinforcement. I kept saying to myself that pain is temporary. The mind is such a powerful tool, and I notice my performance goes up tenfold when I’m on top of my thought process.

Result of the day: 29th //Read about stage seven in the Ella race report.

The racing

Today our team of four had nothing to lose. So we had free range to “have a dig” if the opportunity arose. The shorter 90km stage had two categorised climbs: the first one was 6km long and started just 17km into the race, the second was 10km long and started around the 55km mark.

The danger started in the 11km ‘neutral’ section where the peloton was directed onto a beach pedestrian path. We went through multiple dark tunnels where vision was almost next to nothing! The only crowd we had were the beach-goers swimming in the beautiful, cool ocean to our left. All I could think was, “Geez. I wish I was in that water.”

Like yesterday, the race began at 100 miles per hour, and attacks started immediately. My goal was to be in good position before the road began to rise around the 17km mark. Positioning well on climbs is crucial. It can decide your day if you make the front group or not.

Just as the peloton began to split, I passed Kat [Garfoot] with her hand up. This is never a good sign. I looked at her bike and her front wheel was dead flat. That pretty much ended her day.

For the remainder of the race I didn’t see any of my teammates. For the first time this tour, I managed to grovel my way over the first climb just off the back of the front group –I was pumped! I rode the descent hard, and I was able to catch back onto the leading group…only to realise that two riders were off the front: Lucinda Brand (Rabo Liv) and Jesse Daams (Lotto Soudal Ladies).

At this point, I probably made the wrong decision and tried to attack off the front twice in an attempt to form a small chase group. Looking back, I should have conserved as much energy for the final climb as this is where my day ultimately ended. More training on hills for me!

I managed to find a small group to ride with on the last accent and descent into the finish. I had a smile from ear to ear descending today. Finding a good rhythm and flow is the key to successful descending (as is finding Tiff Cromwell’s wheel!). And of course good brakes and a great mechanic is necessary. Thanks Pat!

Boys will be boys: The sausage fest

So Pat, our team mechanic, has been going on about cooking his lunch in the bonnet of the team car for days now. And today it happened! Before the race both Gene and Pat were prepping their snags in foil – let’s just say there’s never a dull moment in Orica-AIS – but it worked! An hour and a half into the race they stopped for a sausage. Male multi-tasking at its best! Although they did forget the crucial ingredient: tomato sauce. The Sunday roast is next on the menu.

The men cooking their sausage
The men cooking their sausage

Highlight of the day:

Jumping off the pier into the ocean in my kit after the race.

Onto the next stage

The next stage is an individual time trial starting in Pisano. The ITT will set up the general classification, as there are only 36 seconds separating the top five overall. Of the top five, four are national time trial champions.

At 21 kilometres, the TT is longer than most and features a series of hairpin turns, a technical descent and long climb before some lumps and bumps all the way to the finish.

We have a long transfer again, but we are taking a detour to the ETC (European Training Centre of the Australian Institute of Sport) in search of an ice bath. Let’s hope it works!

Nadia is one of the best swannies in the world!
Nadia is one of the best swannies in the world!

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

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