Today we faced 110kms to finish the tour of the Gila. It was an undulating course with one big climb, around 10km long, at the 80 km mark, and another short climb to the finish line. Genevieve Jeanson started the day with an overall lead of around seven minutes over Lyne Bessette (Saturn).
With such a commanding lead, we really didn't expect Genevieve to be aggressive today and we hoped that we might be able to pull off a stage win since the overall win was so far out of reach. However, it was pretty evident from the start of the stage that Genevieve had other plans and around 10 kms into the stage she attacked on an uphill stretch and gradually rode everyone off her wheel.
It seemed she was keen for a 100km time trial. Kim Bruckner of Saturn was the last one to be dropped and so she also headed off for a 100km time trial in pursuit of Genevieve. The remainder of the field gradually regrouped and settled in for a nice ride to the finish!
Genevieve ended up winning by over five minutes from Kim Bruckner, firmly cementing her overall lead. Kim's effort moved her into second overall. The rest of the field rode together to the base of the major climb and then Lyne Bessette rode away from everyone else and finished solo for third place in the stage and also overall.
I decided that my race was over at the base of the climb and I settled comfortably into the "laughing group" for the remaining 30 kms to the finish. I was joined by the rest of the Saturn team - Ina Teutenberg, Kristy Scrymgeour and Suzanne Sonye. It was great to take in the scenery for a while and enjoy the views on the way up the climb! Tomorrow I fly to Europe to join the Australian National team. We will be competing in Tour de l'Aude in the south of France from May 17 'til 27.