Pressure to win stages

Giro d'Italia Donne - Italy, June 30-July 9, 2006

Stage One - 5.2km ITT (Formello)

Stage one of this year's Giro was a 5.2km time trial. Thankfully it ran a lot smoother than previous years - this was never going to be a hard task for the organisers after developing a very poor reputation for hosting a 'casino' when it came to the running of a short prologue for women.

The course was a solid ascent rising from 132 metres to 217 metres. The 36-degree heat and strong headwinds made the course very challenging and more suited to the stronger GC riders. I've not yet seen the results but I imagine there will be a significant difference between the fastest and slowest rider.

I took the TT very casually, both mentally and physically. No disc wheels, no aero bars, no bootie covers, not even a skin-suit. However, I did wear my Oakley Thumps (sunglasses with a built-in Mp3 player) and started my effort with 'Eye of the Tiger' and 'Simply the Best' to help settle me into a steady rhythm. Today was a little bit of a heart starter for me, I wanted to put pressure on the pedals, but at the same time I was being careful not to push too hard. I have pressure from my team, SAFI, to pull off a stage win or two this year so tomorrow and beyond was consistently in the back of my mind during my 10-minute mediocre effort.

We (SAFI) have a great team this year, none of us are grand tour GC riders, and by no means do we expect to figure in the top-10 on GC but all the girls are very fit and motivated to take some stages.

It's nice to be spending the first three nights in the same hotel- gratitude to the organisers! We are sharing the hotel with the Australian National Team which is made up of some very young and exciting talent. The team of young women is being headed by our Commonwealth Games gold medallist- Natalie Bates who has joined the team as a guest rider just for the Giro, she's a fantastic role model and inspiration. Paul Brosnan is the team manager/director-sportif. Broso is very well respected and adds that little extra motivation in bringing a very professional but fun and exciting approach to the team, creating a relaxing and pleasant environment for the new riders.

I'll do my best to accurately record my Polar data from each stage for your interest:

Polar Data:

Distance: 5.2km
Average Speed: 31.96km/H
Time: 9 Min 50 Sec
Average Heart Rate: 194 bpm
Max Heart Rate: 203 bpm
Cadence Average: 80 rpm
Ascent: 90m
Temperature: 36 Degrees

Team Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan

Veronica Andreasson (SWE)
Sabrina Emmasi (SUI)
Daniela Fusar Poli (ITA)
Rochelle Gilmore (AUS)
Silvia Parietti (ITA)
Zita Urbonaite (LTU)
Anna Zugno (ITA)
Miyoko Karami (JPN) Absent due to illness.

Australian National Team

Jenny Macpherson
Emma Mackie
Candice Sullivan
Amanda Spratt
Kate Nichols
Natalie Bates
Kate Mercer
Jocelyn Loane

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