And just like that the 2014 Giro Rosa was underway; with a 2km prologue, that started at 8.30 at night.
Wait, what? At night?
Yes, would I lie to you? The last rider rolled down the ramp in Caserta just before 10.30pm last night and while I would usually be more shocked by this occurrence it's something I've come to expect of the country that has nailed coffee and pasta but not quite caught on to the idea of suitable prologue starting times.
At the now infamous Giro della Toscana last year the prologue started even later and was only partially lit; if the motor bike hadn't been in front of me there would have been a very high likelihood that I would have hit something, or somebody. Something which did, coincidentally happen just a few days later when a photographer neglected to move after the sprint finish.
With a 9.30pm start time I had the luxury of watching a few early starters tackle the interesting course.
1km out and 1km back the course was run through the centre of downtown Caserta and on truly horrible roads; the pavé was like Belgian cobbles that had been given growth hormones. Large and lumpy you were thrown from one side to the other and finding a rhythm and maintaining a high power was not easy.
Seeing Annemiekvan Vlueten and Marianne Vos pre riding the course was a huge advantage; watching them choose where to break, what line they took around the corner and where they picked to ride on the horrible pavé probably helped me save three or more seconds.
There really is no tactic in these sorts of races though, just start hard and go harder so that's what I did. In then end I finished in the top 30. In the end Annemiek won ahead of Vos and Pauline Ferrand Prevot.
Tomorrow the road stages begin and I wouldn't be surprised if we already see moves on the general classification. With a 8.7km circuit that we tackle 11 times there is a 1.5km climb that will undoubtedly splinter the field. I'll be trying to channel my Bira legs and try to help support our general classification rider, Elisa Longo Borghini.
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