Today's stage was special for the Aussies because it went through Castronno, the home town of the AIS cycling base. For a few brief exciting moments we thought the intermediate sprint fell right outside the house, but it turned out that it didn't. Even so, though, it was very cool to race through our training roads and to hear some familiar voices on the side of the road cheering (thanks to Elsa, Dave and the junior men's Aussie team who lined the road!).
The route was 116km through some fairly hilly territory, starting in Gallarate and finishing in Arcisate. Lauren Kitchen made the EB (Early Break) her own, winning the intermediate sprint and pushing out the gap to over 2mins for over 60km. If she keeps this up she's going to have to copyright that move- 2 days in a row now.
The Aussies did well, with 4 of us finishing in the top bunch of 25- Carlee Taylor, Shara Gillow, Tiffany Cromwell and myself. The group contained all the GC hopefuls so it was good for so many of the team to be in it, esp Shara, Carlee and Tiff who are all now top 20 on GC leading into the mtns.
I was happy to have a better day on the bike than yesterday. It was also good to be there to help our GC riders on the final circuit around Arcisate. Those girls have looked after me a lot on the road and it's good to feel I can give something back.
Tomorrow we hit the first of 3 mountain stages, around Lake Como. Stage 8 takes us up to Livigno (last time I visited Livigno I had skis on), then stage 9 goes up the infamous Stelvio pass.