We are sitting in the team bus on the way back to wellington after stage 5. Wow, what a day.
Our team plan was to get me up with the lead group on the first and major climb of the day- a 4km climb starting 12km into the 112km stage.Alex was my lieutenant in the mountains and Sarah was covering early moves. At the 12km mark Ruth (polka dot jersey) attacked and Amber Neben (yellow jersey) and I joined her. Ruth kept the pace on up the climb and we shelled Tiffany Cromwell and everyone else and soon had a sizeable gap. I couldn't really believe it but remembered the 2 bits of advice Ben gave me before the stage: 1. When you make a decision, stick with it, and 2. Ride your f*cking legs off. So I did. Amber made clear early on that she was under instruction not to work, and so sat on. Ruth and I pulled turns like crazy and held the bunch at around a minute until getting caught at the 50km mark. It would have been unreal to pull off a breakaway that stuck but we really needed another pair of legs at least and the AIS and NZ teams were on the front chasing so we were up against it.
Once we got caught it was game on and I was kept fully occupied just keeping good position in the bunch and following the attacks. The team rallied together and Alex, Sarah and Laura found me in the bunch immediately and looked after me unbelievably well. I was able to recover enough to try to organise a lead-out for the final stretch but we couldn't quite get it together. In the end i think i was around 15th and it was a bunch sprint so hopefully will hold onto GC position. I'm really stoked and it was a great team effort today.