PdC: Tell us about the stage from your perspective
Vale: It could have been a perfect stage for a breakaway, everyone was attacking, but for this reason nothing got away. There was not a team or some teams chasing, just everyone was trying and the speed was so high that nothing got away in the end.
PdC: You attacked to keep your Queen of the Mountains jersey today - what does having the jersey mean to you?
Vale: It was not a plan in the beginning of Giro, but now it's a target the Team and I are trying to achieve, together with some stage wins of course.
PdC: What's has it been like on the podium every day in the jersey? Does it feel special?
Vale: It feels special for me to see how many people are cheering for me, at races and on social media. That is really something that gives me strength. They tell me how exciting is to see me at the front, and a girl also wrote me how much she's inspired by watching on tv when I am fighting in a breakaway or on a climb. To me this brings just as much satisfaction as a win.
PdC: Can you tell us a bit about what the transfers are like - who do you go with, what do you do on them - and what does it mean for your post-race routine and recovery when there are long transfers.
Vale: This year they are actually nice, short(er) transfers. Yesterday we had three hours from Cesenatico to Treviso, but it's nothing if you compare it with the 5+ hours we had last year!!! For us and the team's staff it's really important how long it takes from the stage to the next hotel, 'cause we all have heaps of stuff to do: we arrive at the hotel, take a shower, have massages two by two with our two swannies while the other teammates are stretching and recovering, or doing something "extra" like writing articles, or replying to questions from interviews.
In the meantime, our two mechanics are working hard on our bikes, fixing the problems we had during the stage and controlling everything to avoid any trouble the day after. To gain even more time, one of the mechanics leaves before the race and goes to prepare our rooms at the next hotel: we straight walk in the room and find our bags, our pillows (from our sponsor Technogel). Again, between a massage and the other, our swannies also do the laundry, clean the camper and the cars, do shopping for our special food needs, and prepare the race food for the day after....... Now you maybe understand better how important is to rush after the race and go quickly to the next accommodation! =)
PdC: You said you're studying for exams at the moment - what are you studying? Does it help that other team-mates are studying too?
Vale: I am studying Genetics and Nutrition, for my University Course Sciences and Technologies for Animal Breeding. It's very difficult to study at races, and in a big stage race even more. but yes, it helps that some teammates are doing the same.
PdC: Some questions from LoneCycler on Pdoium Café - they saw that you race for the Italian army in Nationals - what does this mean in real life? Is it just for sponsorship, or do you do things with them too? and will you stay with them after cycling?
Vale: I am part of the Italian Army, as an Athlete. I do the things they require me to do, but during the rest of the time I am an Athlete. At ceremonies I have to wear my Army uniform, and I must ask them before signing a contract with a "normal" Team, or going abroad to race or in holidays, etc. It's a good way to help Italian athletes following their dreams, and I am very grateful for what they are doing for me/us all.
I don't know what I'll do in the future, time will say.
PdC: They also wanted to know - if you march, with the army, are you tempted to attack? :-)
Vale: Ahahahah yep, I can't definitely stay quiet in a line!!!! ;-)
PdC: Do you know if you will ride La Course by Le Tour de France, and when ORICA will announce the team?
Vale: I'll ride la Course and I'll participate to the Ride that the ASO is organising in France on the Tour's roads, with some female riders and a lot of cycling fans, on the 19-20 July. Absolutely looking forward to both the events!!!
ORICA will announce the entire roster for La Course soon. The only thing you can be sure of, is that we'll race hard to show to all of those people how exciting female cycling can be!!!!!