The crazy thought is that whenever I have been at this point in any other stage race I have done, I am done. Finito. Yet, here at the Giro, I am officially halfway there. That carries a lot of accomplishment in itself, but also knowing that you are only partially the way through a grueling ten day stage race leaves you with a feeling of trepidation.
Let the games begin.
The first 4 days were hard, fast, sprinter stages. Now it was time to let the GC riders come out to play. We have our cards in World TT Champ, Neben, and uberclimber MAbbot (2nd at Giro last year, winner of the Gila, US National RR Champ, etc…)
Orta S. Giulio – Pratolungo.
I fell in love with this place. Ameno. We stayed at a quaint Italian hotel where there wasn’t AC or internet, but the pasta was homemade, and the garden was blooming. I finally felt that I was in the heartland. Our dinner was roasted fresh vegetables, poulet, bread, and the best pasta I have ever had. Welcome home, Alison. Oh right, bike racing, not a tour of Italy.
The 40k circuit was around a beautiful lake, and it was up, down, up up up, down, up up… 3 times around the circuit, and then up a 2.6k wall. This course included some cobblestones, which were CRAZY. 3 significant climbs, and a pink ribbon lines course. It was a perfect place for the GC riders to make a move, and our very own Mara got 4th! Ouch.
Gallarate to Arcisate
This day snuck up on us. What looked like a “lumpy” course turned out to be a course with killer steep climbs and fast descents. It was one of those days where the course profile looks nothing like the route you take. Who thinks up these things? Fortunately for Team USA, we have an excellent director who drove the entire course to tell us what to expect. A break went with the GC riders, and Neben and Mara were solid.
It was the groupetto for me. Not so bad. The mountains are coming. More work to be done for USA.