Jessie MacLean managed a top-ten finish in a chaotic sprint on the first stage of the Giro Della Toscana. She shares insight on the first road stage of the five-day stage race below.
Today was a typical day of racing in Italy. That’s my polite way of explaining the racing was pretty crazy and totally chaotic. We expect this by now, but it’s doesn’t make it any less of a shock to the system.
Row [Rowena Fry] was at the front covering all the early attacks, and the rest of us held solid position in the bunch. Spratty [Amanda Spratt] was under strict orders not to do too much damage today, so she was trying to chill out amongst the chaos.
The kilometers in our tech guide weren’t exactly right – or even close to right. It’s part of the charm and appeal of racing in Italy. We know by now we can’t trust what we read, and we do the best we can with what’s thrown our way out on the road.
The race came down to a bunch sprint, and it ended up being a pretty neat finish. The stage ended on a circuit that we raced around twice. Tiff [Tiffany Cromwell] looked after me here. She kept me safe on the technical bits, and she did an awesome job over the one little climb on both circuit laps. Her tempo on the front strung out the field, and the increase in the pace made things safer for everyone.
I hung around a little too far back than I probably should have. I stayed near Giorgia Bronzini (Diadora Pasta Zara), who is on a killer winning streak at the moment. Everyone wanted Giorgia’s wheel, so it gets a bit messy near her. Giorgia Bronzini won the stage. I went on to finish ninth.
As Tiff mentioned in the prologue report, this race is a bit more relaxed for us than most races. We’re here without big pressure to get a super result, and with only four riders, we don’t have the onus on us to do a whole lot of work during any given stage. Mostly, we’re here to give Spratty and Tiff a chance to prepare for Worlds.
This is a sort of funny race because the Brainwash Tour starts in Holland on Tuesday, and that’s a very important race to certain teams. Most of the strongest teams and top riders will race there. Rabobank has Annemiek Van Vleuten, but other than that there’s no single dominant team or rider to take charge. It will be interesting to see how that dynamic plays out over the next three days of racing.