ON day one she was dreaming, but on day two of the Women’s Tour Down Under in Adelaide Emily Watts was certainly feeling the heat.
Not only was Watts testing her legs against experienced professionals, but the mercury climbed into the high 30s as she made her way through the Barossa Valley and tackled a brutal climb to the finish line.
The 116.7 kilometre second stage finished at Mengler Hill, a category two climb with a leg burning 9.96 percent average gradient.
The Bathurst Cycling Club graduate, who is a member of the Sydney Uni-Staminade team, made it to the finish in just over three hours, 21 minutes.
She was the 56th rider to cross the line and ranked 14th out of the young riders in the peloton, the effort continuing her solid Tour Down Under debut.
The talented 18-year-old got her first taste of riding in a UCI level event on Thursday as she tackled the a 112.9 kilometre opening stage from Hahndorf to Birdwood.
READ MORE: Watts starts well in Tour Down Under
READ MORE: Watts is excited for her Down Under debut
Though it featured three categorised climbs, it was a day in which the sprinters featured.
Letizia Paternoster won the speed battle, but Watts finished with the same bunch. She was the 12th cyclist in the young rider category to cross the finish line.
“Pinch me I’m dreaming,” Watts said of the experience.
Friday was certainly tougher, Watts finishing seven minutes and 51 second behind stage victor Amanda Spratt.
In taking out the stage, defending champion Spratt moved into the overall general classification lead.
“When you have a clear plan and you execute it to perfection, it feels amazing,” she said.
Two more stages Watts over the weekend – Saturday’s 104.5km haul from Nairne to Stirling and a 42.5km criterium on Sunday in Adelaide’s city centre.