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Photo ©: Bettini

Photo: © Rob Karman

The Anna Millward Diary

Australian Anna Millward (Wilson until her marriage in 2000) is one of the best women's cyclists in the world, and was ranked number 1 for the first part of 2000. She has won races everywhere, from time trials in France, World Cup races in Switzerland to stage races in the USA, and was the first cyclist ever to break the Hour Record under the "new" UCI rules. Anna possesses an incredible sprint and this combined with her power and determination makes her a formidable cyclist on any terrain. She is also one of the friendliest and most optimistic people you could ever meet.

Anna's Giro d'Italia Femminile diary

Stage 3 - July 8: Lari-Cascina, 105 km

Today looked like a much more pleasant stage - 105km with just two climbs in it. However, it turned out to be a bit harder than it looked and it managed to upset the GC a bit as well.

From the start, little groups were trying to go clear and the pace was pretty high. Around the 8km mark, two riders got a 15 second gap. A couple of kms later I had an opportunity to go across to them and bridged the gap, along with Rasa Polikevicuite (Acca Due O), Vera Hohlfield (Figurella), an Itera rider and one other. The six of us were away for the next 20km but Rasa was too great a threat to the overall for the bunch to let her slip away too far and eventually, the Chorio team chased us down. From there, the pace was pretty fierce as the Acca Due O team was very aggressive. Small groups formed only to be absorbed quickly afterwards.

We made good time to the first climb and had a pretty nasty shock at how hard it was! Not very long but painfully steep. The bunch split on the climb and down the other side Fany Lecourtois (Pragma Colnago) and another Itera rider attacked. The bunch regrouped behind them and they built a lead of a minute pretty quickly.

Their lead grew to a maximum of 1 minute 30 seconds but as the tempo of the bunch increased approaching the climb for the second time, it dropped again to around 50 seconds.

The bunch hit the climb hard and Zinaida Stahurskaia (Chorio), Svetlana Boubnekova (Kookai) Diana Ziluite (Acca Due O) went off the front. They caught the breakaway riders and Fany Lecourtois (Pragma Colnago) put in an impressive performance to stay with them over the top and form a breakaway group of four.

Of the Australians, both Sara Carrigan and Rochelle Gilmore made the main group over the top while the rest of us got together on the descent and tried to chase back on. However, with the bunch chasing the breakaway we were out of luck and never caught them.

In front, Boubnekova attacked to finish solo and take over the leader's jersey of the tour. I'm not sure how many seconds behind her the next three finished or the bunch for that matter!

Tomorrow is a totally flat stage of 120km around the town where the Australian team is based for the year, so we are locals for the race!

Photo: © Rob Karman