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The Emma James Diary 2002
Welcome to Cyclingnews.com's newest female diarist, Australian Emma James. Emma's enjoying her first year as a scholarship holder with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) road cycling team, managed by coach James Victor. She's a gutsy rider who's decided that she'd rather be testing the waters of professional cycling than testing the salinity of the Sydney's waterways as an environmental scientist - which used to be her previous occupation before Emma decided to take the plunge.
Emma's Giro d'Italia Femminile diary
Stage 3 - July 8: Lari-Cascina, 105 km
July 8, 2002
It was important not to smash yourself too much!
The stage started in the town of Lari, with a very slow neutral zone for half of the descent leading on to the flat roads that we were on for most of the 102km race. Riders from a few different teams were keen to get in an early break, with attacks going from the start. I tried to get in amongst it, but most of the moves were quickly covered. The only move that managed to get a decent gap on the field for long was a group of about six riders including Anna Millward and world champion Rasa Polikeviciute (Acca Due O-Pasta Zara), but the time gap was never more than about 30 seconds. They got away countering another move, when the bunch was already strung out as we went up over a freeway overpass. It was a good time to go, and perhaps if it had riders from more than one strong team (Chirio) it would have stayed away.
The pace stayed high leading onto the first climb at the 60km mark. The bunch split on the climb but regrouped 5-10km later on flat roads when the bunch sat up. Fany Lecourtois (Deia-Pragma-Colnago) and Itera rider, Joulia Martisova (Itera) got away at this point, and while the peloton rested their lead quickly grew to 1min 30.
I was still hopeful that another little group might get away before the last time up the same climb (with about 25km to go). At the very least attacking would help to lift the speed and pull back the break to ensure that our good sprinters would have a chance to win the stage if it did not split to pieces the final time over the climb. I tried to get away with Katie Mactier, another Aussie with the Italian Fanini team, and later following a move by Acca Due and a rider with Zinaida Stahurskaja's (USC Chirio Forno d'Asolo) team. No luck at all on that front, and with the climb rapidly approaching it was important not to smash yourself too much!
Over the final climb the best of the climbers caught the two in the breakaway and this group (of about eight) finished just ahead of the next bunch with Aussie riders Rochelle Gilmore and Sara Carrigan. Svetlana Boubnenkova (Team Aliverti Kookai) won the stage, with Rochelle first of the following bunch. I was with a few other Aussies 1km further back - chasing hard but unable to get back to the group in front in fairly windy conditions with only about five riders swapping off.
I was feeling much more comfortable in the peloton today and enjoying the racing. The next stage is close to our base in Italy, starting in a town where we occasionally stop for coffee: Correggio. Some of the local riders who we join up with for a bunch ride on a Sunday when there is no racing have promised to be out to cheer us on, and perhaps paint our names on the roads that form part of the circuit! We are all hoping to do well, and get a stage win which would help to improve the state of the kitty for team prize-money!
Emma's racing exploits in 2002