Elisa Longo Borghini
One of the most exciting young riders out there is Italian Elisa Longo Borghini
PdC: What is the best thing about racing the Giro?
Elisa: For me Giro is cool because it's happening on my country and it goes through Italy.
PdC: Which stages do you think will be important, and how do you think the race will be won?
Elisa: Everyone is really concerned about the hilly stages. I think those ones in the south could surprise a lot of girls in the peloton.
PdC: What will you be packing in your Giro survival kit?
Elisa: Sun cream protection 50 (I'm from a a valley in the north!!), magnesium and cooling oil!
PdC: What advice have you given Audrey about riding the race for the first time
Elisa: She needs to bring an Italian dictionary with her... Italians are not so good in English and it's always an issue to communicate (Even though she's really good in languages!)
Hitec were truly amazing. All the girls rode SO well as you could see! I am proud of them and I hope this positive curve can stay this way.
First Audrey was helping me to stay among the first positions of the peloton, then Ash broke away with Annemiek van Vleuten and in the end Audrey just showed her class and her cycling skills again by escaping before the climb. She helped me and then got dropped.
The Sprint was between three and I got second. :-)
PdC: You're in an interesting position, as an American rider in an Italian team - do you think that will make a difference to this Giro?
Shelley: The Giro is and always has been the most special race on the calendar for me every year. Being in an Italian team this year, of course it is also very important for our whole team. But personally, the Giro is always the same to me. The best race of the year.
PdC: Of course you've won here before - how does winning at the Giro feel, is it different to other races?
Shelley: My stage wins at the Giro are the most memorable of all my races. In particular, winning on the 4th of July in 2012. There was something so special about that day. I think winning here in the Giro is so rewarding because you have all the best riders and they are all in peak form. The media is great and there is coverage of the race on the television in Italy. And the crowds are amazing. You really feel that the people love cycling.
PdC: Which stages are you most looking forward to this year - and are there any you're NOT looking forward to?
Shelley: No one stage in particular, but I will try to make my best in the prologue and the stages that finish in the sprint.
PdC: What advice would you give riders about to face their first Giro?
Shelley: Try to be conservative and remember that it is a long, hard tour. Don't give too much when it's not necessary. And do everything you can to recover day to day. Also, that each day is a new day and another day to learn and grow.
PdC: What will be in your Giro Rosa survival kit?
Shelley: Music, movies, and books. And also some nice photos of my family and my dog.
Another American racing the Giro is Specialized-lululemon's Tayler Wiles
PdC: What's your favourite thing about racing the Giro?
Tayler: I love the Giro for so many reasons, so it's hard to nail down just one. I love Italy; the beauty, the culture, the FOOD! It's a beautiful place to race! I also just love stage racing and am a sucker for the long ones! There is just something about the long brutal climbs and that pink jersey that I love!
PdC: And what's the hardest?
Tayler: I think one of most challenging things about the Giro is the heat. It can be brutally hot this time of year and you can get pretty desperate! When you are dying a thousand deaths on a climb, a cold coke feed is pure gold!
PdC: With this being your second Giro, do you have any advice for riders facing their first time?
Tayler: Hydration and recovery are everything in this race! When you are not on the bike, feet up and water in!
PdC: What was the biggest surprise in YOUR first race?
Tayler: The amount of pasta I could consume everyday...and still enjoy it! ;)
PdC: What's in your Giro survival kit?
Tayler: My iPad & beats headphones (yes skype dates are key to my mental survival while away from home...and a daily hit of social media from time to time doesn't hurt either)
Eye mask and ear plugs (when you sleep in a tiny room with 2 or 3 other people, you have to master the skill of tuning it all out to sleep)
My teammates! We keep each other laughing even after ten days of brutal racing :)
If you want to read the rest of our rider views of the race....
- My interview with Emma Pooley, including the Giro
- Part 1 of the Rider Q&As, with Ash Moolman-Pasio, Tiffany Cromwell, Megan Guarnier, Alison Powers, Jolien D’Hoore and Lucy Garner
- Part 2, with Marianne Vos, Emma Johansson, Chloe Hosking, Alena Amialiusik, Jessie Maclean and Sharon Laws
- Part 3, with Evelyn Stevens, Ellen van Dijk, Audrey Cordon, Hannah Barnes, Valentina Scandolara and Elena Cecchini, on why she's not riding
For more information about the Giro, check out the race website, and my guide to following the race live, and watching it on tv/online - and Velofocus has excellent previews of each stages on his site. Omnevelnihil and I talked about the race and what we think might happen in our latest women's cycling podcast (it make have the odd swearword or two!) And all the daily updates from the race are in the Giro Rosa 2014 story stream.