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Jessie's last road stage, Elisa at home & the best of twitter: Giro Rosa Stage 7 Rider Reactions

Every day during the Giro Rosa I've been having daily Q&As with ORICA-AIS riders. After the final road stage, Jessie Maclean told me about celebrating team birthdays, sprinting and more - while Elisa Longo Borghini answered some questions about her recovery, Amber Pierce video-reviewed the stage and once more, riders were very funny on twitter....

Jessie Maclean

Jessie has been telling us about the race and giving away her team-mates' secrets all week - this time it's on the sprint stage, Stage 7, ORICA birthdays and what she thinks of her team...

PdC: Hi Jessie! How was the final road stage?

Jessie: Today was a lot of fun - it was a pretty fast course, pretty hot, but a lot of fun

PdC: There seemed like a lot of people out on the roadside - how much of a difference does that make?

Jessie: There certainly were a lot of people at the finish, and at all the junctions the traffic was stopped, and everybody seemed to get out of their cars to cheer us on. It's nice, it actually makes quite a bit of difference to the race for us - there's a better atmosphere when there's more crowds, it just lifts you along.

PdC: And it's the last bunch racing day for you - does it feel a relief when you're racing the last road stage?

Jessie: Not really - without wanting to sound blasé about it, it's like every other race day, we're always trying to be the best. If it was maybe the last race day of the season it would be different, but there are still a lot of race days left.

There were attacks going throughout the day that made it fast, even though nothing was sticking. No one team was really in control, and there were a lot of tired legs in the bunch. There were a lot of corners in the last 10k so it got a bit messy. It's nicer when one team is able to take control, it keeps things safer.

PdC: And tomorrow's the ITT - do you enjoy racing them?

Jessie: Well I prefer prologues! ITTs are OK, it's a pretty good distance so we'll see!

PdC: Is there any kind of stages you don't enjoy racing?

Jessie: Hill-top finishes, pretty much! [laughs]

PdC: I saw your tweet about that - it was very funny. You were racing before twitter became so big - how has it changed things?

Jessie: Well, I only really got on the twitter band wagon at the start of the year. I think it's fun - reading everyone's different reactions to the climbs was funny. I guess it sort of make you think "That's a relief, it's not just me!"

PdC: You're very good at the twitter one-liners - and I did like your tweet to Megan Guarnier!

Jessie: You know, I was a little bit worried about that, she doesn't know me that well - but I guess it was alright!

PdC: And it was Tiffany Cromwell's birthday today - how did you celebrate?

Jessie: With cake! LOTS of cake! After Mel [Hoskins] and I spent so many minutes decorating this cake we'd bought, we get downstairs and after dinner her parents had organised this amazing cake delivered to the hotel - we took a look and lost it! All that work, gone to waste!

PdC: How had you decorated it?

Jessie: White stars and paper umbrellas and a single candle - we'd put a lot of thought into it! [laughs]

PdC: How much time do you all spend together as a team?

Jessie: Well it depends, some live really close and others far away, so... Obviously Spratty and I share a flat, so we spend every waking minute together, and then Gracie [Elvin] and [Sungeun] Gu live just down the road, so we see a lot of them. But with the other girls living all over Europe, we don't get to spend a lot of time together outside of races and team camps.

PdC: How does it work then, coming together with riders you don't see so often - is it easy to get along?

Jessie: Yeah, it's really easy, I think we're really lucky to have a team full of girls with the same sense of humour and the same values, and we've all got a lot of respect for each other. You hear stories about other teams, and feel really lucky here.

PdC: Now, I've got another question from twitter for you - after your tweet about your Garmin not recognising you were riding up the mountain, Cyclistmetadata asked what's the lowest cadence you can ride and still register? I guess today's fast stage wasn't the day for that, though?

Jessie: I meant to ask Eric that question! My power meter ran out of batteries at the start of the tour, so I don't know!

PdC: Are you one of the riders who likes power meters and those gadgets?

Jessie: Again, I'm a bit late to that band wagon, I'm still getting my head round it. In some ways it's good, you can see how you're training, whether you're hitting the right numbers, but in other ways it's not, you can definitely read too much into it. It's good for the coaches, I guess - and it is kind of fun when you look at the numbers and see that you've got the best numbers so far. Hasn't happened for a while, but it's nice when it does!

PdC: So what will you be doing after the race? Do you get a holiday, or is it straight onto the next thing?

Jessie: I'm doing Thüringen Rundfahrt next, so it'll be a week of recovery and sharpening up for Thüringen

PdC: Is it hard going from one tour to the next, or does it help keep you in form?

Jessie: I'm hoping it's good for the form! I haven't done a whole lot of race days this year, for various reasons, so it's good to have a week of solid racing in the legs.

PdC: And Thüringen is a great race - or am I just having rose-tinted spectacles about it because I went in 2011?

Jessie: It is a really cool race! The racing's exciting, fast and aggressive, and the organisation's good, it's really easy - shame the weather isn't as nice as it is in Italy!

PdC: You'll be staying in one hotel for the whole race - does that make a difference?

Jessie: It's a lot more relaxing - you don't have to pack up every day, and you can leave everything where it is - but the Giro's the only one where it's a proper Tour, going to different hotels every night.

PdC: There have been some really good places you've stayed this year - some of the rider photos have been gorgeous - mountains, beaches, everything!

Jessie: Yeah, some of the views have been stunning. Sometimes you look out of the window at the mountains and think about racing up them, but it's still good! The best were at the start of the first stage, on the coast, and then last night we stayed at the end of the road up a mountain, and it was just beautiful.


Many thanks to Jessie for all her time this week. Make sure you're following her twitter - and for more ORICA-AIS views on the race, read the team report on their website, and the blogs from Tiffany Cromwell and Gracie Elvin . If you want to see those cakes, have a look at Tiffany's birthday Instagram - and to see the team rocking on the Stage 7 presentation stage, here's a video.


Elisa Longo Borghini

One of the lovely things about the race was in Stage 6, when the peloton passed Elisa Longo Borghini roadside. Elisa was one of the favourites going into the race, until a horrible crash in the Italian Championships the week before left her with a fractured hip - but she's still very much part of the race, showing herself to be a huge fan as well as an one of the most exciting riders. She kindly answered a few of my questions.

PdC: Firstly, we at Podium Café are really sorry about your crash. How is the recovery going? Do you know when you can get back on the bike?

I'm recovering well and faster than expected. I guess I'll come back to the bunch in September.

PdC: It's clear from your twitter that you're supporting your team-mates all the way - what is it like watching the race instead of riding? Are you in contact with the team as well?

It's a different point of living the race... I like it but no doubts I much prefer riding than watching it! It would have been cool if the national television also showed the decisive attacks instead of showing the images of the race when everything was already settled.

I've been in contact with my teammies and the DS all the week long.

PdC: Does being able to watch an hour of the race on tv every day make a difference to how you see your competitors?

Elisa: Not really. I more or less know how they are, but it is cool to see how easily I recognise everybody in the bunch. I can tell without any problems who is the 20th position just looking at the style on the bike or at the ponytail!

PdC: What do you think your tactics would have been if you were there? Is that something you can say, or is that always impossible? ;-)

Elisa: It's impossible to say in my opinion.

PdC: And finally, who do you think will win the race?

Elisa: After yesterday It's easy to say that Abbot has 99% of the possibilities to win the race but more exciting It's going to be the battle for the podium. Guderzo, Häusler and Cauz are really close and at the TT we will have a real fight.


Amber Pierce

Here's Amber's latest video review, discussing the team tactics and the secret behind sprints. As always, if you have any questions for Amber, ask her on twitter.


The best of Twitter

I love the tweeting riders - thanks to each and every one of them!

For more rider tweets, follow my Giro twitter list - and come back tomorrow for the final Ride Reactions!