Both Jessie MacLean and Tiffany Cromwell had rides worth writing home about on the second stage of the Giro della Toscana. MacLean went up the road in an early break turned winning move. Behind her, Cromwell kept her eye on the suspected overall contenders and maintained her position on what became a completely reshuffled general classification. They both checked in post-race to tell you about their days.
I got into an early break and came out in seventh place. It was a surprise that the move I was in was able to stay away on such a hard stage. That’s what happens, I guess, when no big team asserts control.
Once the break went away, everyone was pulling pretty evenly. We worked well together for the majority of the race. A few girls sat on a bit more than others but they were the ones that ended up getting dropped anyway.
Today was a stage for the climbers. We went up the Volterra twice. It’s a ten kilometer climb that we approached from two different sides. In addition to the terrain, we dealt with strong winds.
I honestly never felt confident that we would stay away. Coming up the Volterra the first time, we had about four or five minutes on the field, and by the time we had reached the top, the field had slashed our gap by more than half. I expected fireworks to come rocketing past us on the second climb but it never happened.
I’m happy with how I rode, for sure – and I’m surprised, too. This is definitely not the type of stage where I’d expect a result like this one.
Basically, the break went up the road, and when we realized we had missed what looked to be a good move, Jessie jumped across. It was perfect for us. Most of the teams were represented, so it was fairly easy back in the bunch until we hit the climbs.
Faren Honda has missed out on the break. They were really the only team with a serious interest in bringing back the group. They began to work for Fabiana Luperini and kept the gap around the one minute mark for a little while. Then, the gap swelled to four minutes and they stopped working as hard.
There were a number of attacks from the bunch both times up the climb. Luperini did the pace making the first time up, and her pace split the group – but after each split, we’d always come right back together. Usually we were in groups of four or five although at one point a group of 15 formed off the front of the main bunch, still behind the break.
The first time over the climb, a group of ten solidified. We were caught by the second chase group before the base of the climb, and we rode up the Volterra together the second time around. There were a few attacks from the group but none that went anywhere. I finished with Luperini, Megan Guarnier (TIBCO), Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabobank Women), Natalia Boyarskya (Rusvelo), Tetyana Riabchenko (Forno d’Asolo Colavita) and Grete Treier (S.C. Michela Fanini Rox).
I’m definitely happy with how I climbed today. When I would look around at my group, all the riders who I’d expect to be up on general classification were around me. We’ll see what happens on the overall now with today’s break occupying all the top spots.