Giro Q&As: Carlee Taylor, Elena Cecchini, Katrin Garfoot & Allison Linnell
At any race, this Aussie is pretty much guaranteed as the most smiley and friendly rider, with adventures happening to her all the time – and the Giro is no exception! We talked about how she crashed dramatically out of the Stage 2 breakaway, but took the Queen of the Mountains jersey, giving Lotto Soudal two Green Jerseys on the same day.
There’ll be a transcript to follow, but in the meantime, follow her on twitter and instagram, visit her sponsors, Watermark, when you’re in Aus, and watch the Stage 2 videos, and check out that crash.
Insert R.Kelly lyrics and my fav song: "I believe I can fly" and you have this… #myday #immediatelyregretthatdecision devo to be in a break and then have a gap solo only for this to happen in the last 25km. but on a positive note Im in the climbers jersey of the #girorosa2015 and anyone who needs some gardening done just ask #didsomeweeding #lottosoudal @lazersport
Taylor’s Lotto-Soundal team-mate Cecchini has already told us about her first ever Giro podium, from the Stage 3 breakaway.. and she was kind enough to answer some more questions about how she ended up there again from the bunch sprint on Stage 4 – two podiums in two days in a row!
Stage 4 was your second podium in two days – what happened in the race?
It was a completely flat race around Milan. We did a fast and furious first hour in which I couldn’t even drink from my bottles because the course was full of corners, roundabounds and speedbumps. The sprint was really chaotic but I managed to came out from the last corner just 400m before the finishline in 4th position. I’m not a bunch sprinter, so I just thought about doing my best. For sure winning would have been better, but I’m happy with my second podium in a row 😉
It sounded very chaotic in the peloton from twitter – how do you deal with a race on a day like that?
I think is all about being careful and staying focused. The women’s peloton is a big one, 150 aggressive riders who try to go as fast as possible…. Yesterday was very dangerous and there were many crashes. In cycling you have to be lucky too… I hope every girl involved in crashes is ok.
You sounded a little bit disappointed with 3rd on twitter after the race – how do you feel now?
Maybe I was just a little disappointed because sometimes I’m so close to the win…..and yesterday was a really close one. But I’m feeling really happy right now. I have to improve a lot in the sprints, but racing them is helping me learn.
Stage 4 was a very Italian day today, with 6 in the top 10 and all 3 on the podium – what do you think of the state of Italian cycling at the moment?
Italian cycling has made history both in male and female cycling. I think these years are years of “transition”. Young girls like me are lucky to have more experienced girls like Tatiana Guderzo and Giorgia Bronzini to learn from, but at the same time we are trying to grow during the season getting our own results. This is the best way to improve, learning from champions and being brave and suffering on the bike at the same time. For sure there are young girls who have already showed their talent like Elisa Longo Borghini and Rossella Ratto, I think Italian female cycling will have a bright future!!
The mountains are coming… What advice have you been given about the Giro climbing stages? And how are you feeling about them?
The mountain stages will be very hard, with lot of attacks from GC girls and lot of other girls who will try to escape before the climbs. I will help Carlee try to keep the green jersey. I don’t think there is much advice for climbing stages.. You just have to push hard and keep pushing hard 😉
This year you’ve had great results in the rain and cobbles of the Classics and now in the heat of the Giro – what are your favourite conditions, and which are your favourite races?
My favourite conditions to race in are the spring Italian weather for sure, 20 degrees, sun and not much
wind, but being honest, sometimes I also love racing in the rain. I don’t like the hot condition we had in the last days, but is something I had to deal with it if I wanted to be good in these first stages.
What have you learned from this Giro so far? And what advice would you give first time riders in the future?
From this giro I learned that recovering, sleeping as much as you can and eating well and at the right
moments is important to be at the best day by day. I also learned that team work is the key to success: when you have a long stage race as this, you can’t be 100% every day! and in bad days teamies become your strength.
Is there any one you want to say ‘thanks’ to, or send a message to?
I just want to say thanks to my family and my team.. With out them I would not be here racing Giro Rosa;-)
Watch the Stage 4 videos here, and follow Elena on twitter. She’s a tough cookie, because on Stage 5, she was caught up in a crash in the neutral zone, and raced the super-hard stage looking like this… and is still 1oth in general classification!
This is your second Giro – how is it different from your first?
The second Giro is a bit easier to handle, but far from easy. It is still super tough, but little things make life easier, like knowing where the toilets are at the starts you have done before, knowing about what the food is like in the hotel you have been staying at the year before, the sleeping arrangements, the transfers, and of course the courses that are similar. Also having it done before I have a better idea how my body reacts and how I have to respond I.e. getting a dry mouth and not being hungry.
For riders who are new to the Giro, what should they know about it?
They should know that you will be more tired than you ever were and you will still have to race your bike. That it is important to eat lots, constantly, even if not hungry.
What was it like out in the breakaway today? What goes through your mind out there?
It was hard, I calculated how I felt in relation the the distance to go, which is hard when you are not used to riding so tired. And I made the decision of riding on, even though I had a Rabo girl sitting on me not doing anything. When the Wiggle girl, Mayuko Hagiwara, came across I thought that I have someone to work with, but she did only pull weak turns. I lost my motivation a bit since I also saw the peloton coming hard from the back and I thought that this will come to an end and I have to try to rest before they gobble us up, so that I can stay with them.
What are your plans for the rest of the race?
See how I go
USA rider Allison Linnell has only recently moved from triathlon to cycling, and has been racing in Europe for the first time this year. She answered some questions about her first ever Giro.
You’re racing your the Giro for the first time… how is it feeling?
HOT! And very tough. I had a rough second stage and after that have just been trying to survive. My goal this year is just to finish. This race is a physical and mental challenge and feels like one day UCI races… for nine days straight!
What did you know about the race going in?
I knew it was 10 days and there were mountains. When I checked out the stages prior to the race I figured the first few “flat” days would not be so difficult and the last mountain stages would be the hardest for me. However, everything that I had previously thought about this race has been proven wrong day after day. The flat stages have been very tough for me and today’s first mountain stage was actually my favorite so far, though I don’t want to jinx the next days.
And have there been any surprises?
What’s been the best thing?
Tunnels! They are nice and cool inside. I have never been so excited to approach a tunnel as I was today.
But actually, the best thing for me has been watching the cameraderie between the teams on the hot days. I saw the perfect photo of this: an Alé Cipollini rider handing a bottle to a rider on another team during the race (of course I can’t find the photo now). The teams, the police, the spectators – everyone is offering bottles. In the gruppettos, where I find myself on the climbs, everyone is just trying to make it to the top and to the finish. People are willing to help each other whether or not they are wearing the same jersey.
And anything not-so-good?
The heat and my legs 😁
How are you feeling about the mountains?
While I would normally be dreading them, I am excited to seek out the cooler air at higher altitudes. Though, I will probably have a different answer to this one halfway up the mountain. I am from Miami after all, where our only hill is a bridge!
This is your first season racing in Europe – what’s the difference between racing here and in North America?
To be honest, I did not do very much racing in North America before heading to Europe. I was presented with a great opportunity to come race in Europe and I jumped at the chance. I came from an Ironman triathlon background and the most difficult part of cycling has been adapting to the constant accelerations and changes of pace. However, this experience has already made me so much stronger and I am thankful to be here racing with many of the best cyclists in the world.
What advice would you give any USA riders who’d like to ride the Giro? Both about getting here, and once they’re in the race?
I would like to defer this question to Megan Guarnier. I think she has it much more figured out than I do! #MagliaRosa
If you want to follow the rest of the race as it happens, here’s my guide – and if you want to chat Giro or women’s cycling in general, leave me a comment, or talk to me on twitter. I’m funded to do this kind of thing by my wonderful Patreon supporters – thank you so much! You can join them here from as little as $2 a month – it helps keep me sane while I hunt down all the women’s cycling information I can find!