Giro Rosa rider reactions: Jessie Maclean and Amber Pierce on Stage 1

This year the Café has some extra special help with our Giro Rosa coverage - I'll be talking to Jessie Maclean and Amanda Spratt from ORICA-AIS and they'll answer Café Q&As after each stage from the various hotels around Italy, and Pasta Zara-Cogeas rider, Amber Pierce, will give us regular video reviews of the race from her home in Austria. On top of that, we'll be publishing Marijn de Vries' blogs in English, and asking various riders questions at key points in the race - so if you have any questions for real-live riders, about the race in general or specific tactics, ask in the comments!

Jessie Maclean is one of those riders every team should have - a laid-back, funny, a calming influence off the bike, while working her heart out on the road for her team-mates. She came up through the Australian talent identification programme and is now a mainstay of ORICA - find out more about her on her team profile, and follow her on twitter.

PdC: So how was Stage 1?

Jessie: It was great! loads of enthusiastic people, and there was such a lot of effort to decorate the starting towns. The racing was crazy - lots of standing on brakes and near-crashing.

PdC: What makes that happen? Over-excitement at the beginning of the race?

Jessie: Yeah, lots of small teams, and Italian teams - it's a bit like the Italia Cup, everyone wanting to make their mark. But the roads were pretty wide and good, and the bunch was really good - everyone was kind of there, and crazy! There were the standard attacks off the front - Valentina Bastianelli as usual - but there was a lot of wind, and the sprint teams were in control.

PdC: You lost Sungeun Gu in a crash - what happened?

Jessie: Yeah, I feel really bad for her, because she was really excited to be racing the Giro, and it was the first stage. She hit her head, so she's not allowed to continue. She's really disappointed, but the team will get her home, to the base in Varese and look after her,

It wasn't like she was in a bad position or anything. It was in the laps, there were quite a few corners in a couple of k, and from what Loes said, one girl took it too hot and took out the others. I was held up by it - you have to stop and go around.

PdC: How does it feel, racing the Giro?

Jessie: Well for one, it's the only race where we're travelling all the time. It's literally a tour of Italy, we usually don't hop around like this. it's really cool - it makes for interesting terrain, too, and it's really exciting. And then there's the standard good coffee, good pasta, good gelati!

PdC: Do you get the chance to see much of the area while you're racing?

Jessie: It depends on the race - today there was a bit of head- and cross-wind, so nothing was going up the road, it was a bit cruisey, so we could look around.

PdC: What do you think tomorrow's Stage 2 will be like?

Jessie: I don't know, it's a circuit race, so it depends on the climb. Looking out of the window, I can't see much of it. I don't know if I trust the profile, though!

PdC: The Giro is known for "surprise hills" that aren't in the racebook, isn't it!

Jessie: Yeah, but these organisers seem to be on the ball - the profile for the stage today was pretty accurate! We'll see!

PdC: What's the ORICA plan for the race?

Jessie: Hunting stage wins, in a nutshell! Learning each day, and trying new things, and going for the wins!

***

You can find out more about the day from ORICA's perspective in their DS race report, and on Gracie Elvin's Stage 1 blog. Next up will be Spratty - and if you have any questions for Jessie, Spratty, Amber or anyone else, ask in the comments! You can follow the other riders on twitter using my list - and don't forget to follow Velofocus on his twitter and website, for a fan's-eye view of the race, and watch the videos in the PdC Stage 1 race report

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