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Now in its 28th edition, the Giro Rosa is the biggest celebration of women’s cycling on the calendar. With 10 days of hard racing, the Giro Rosa is the only remaining Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, and the win comes with a lot of prestige.
As women’s cycling is becoming more and more a level playing field, there’s not one top favourite taking to the start. Instead, it will be an exciting and hard-fought battle between teams and riders days in, day out until we reach the finale in Torre del Greco on Sunday, July 9.
The opening team time trial was easily won by the world champions in the discipline, Boels-Dolmans. Karol-Ann Canuel crossed the line first and is the first leader in the 2017 Giro Rosa. We’re providing you with all the best shots from the stage and highlights videos as we come across them.
Giro Rosa Round-up: stage one
A move away from the traditional evening prologue meant the 2017 Giro Rosa opened with a team effort against the clock in a twelve kilometre team time trial. Boels-Dolmans, the world team time trial champions, were of course “awfully thrilled with this change in format” and targeted the stage to take the first time gaps, and the first pink leader’s jersey along with it.
But they would have to wait until all other teams had started their TTT’s, the last out of the start blocks. Seven of the eight Italian teams participating in the Giro Rosa were among the first ten starters, Giusfredi-Bianchi the first team to roll off the start ramp at 4.45pm local time. They stopped the clock at 17’48”. After half the teams had finished their time trial, it was Astana Women’s Team in the hot seat, setting a time of 15’36”.
At 5.36pm CET, it was time for the first of the favourites to take to the start, former world team time trial champions Canyon-SRAM, followed by Orica-Scott, Wiggle-High5, Cervélo-Bigla, Team Sunweb, WM3 Pro Cycling and, finally, Boels-Dolmans.
Orica-Scott rode themselves into the hot seat as they set a time of 15’09”, but it was the second-to-last team to start, Team Sunweb, that really raised the bar for the Boels-Dolmans team. Even without the European time trial champion Ellen van Dijk on the team, they finished in 15’03”.
But it was no match for Boels-Dolmans, who were the only team to manage a time under fifteen minutes; 14’47”.
The orange train powered to victory in Aquileia on Friday night, their second team time trial victory of the year after having won the Healthy Ageing Tour team time trial in April.
Freshly crowned Canadian time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel was the first to cross the line with Boels-Dolmans, bcoming the first leader in the 2017 Giro Rosa and awarded the pink leader’s jersey.
Canuel got the champagne shower going as the seven Boels-Dolmans riders celebrated their stage win on the podium.
“We talked about it beforehand, and everyone said they were okay with me crossing the line first,” Canuel said after the victory. “It was really special to pull on the pink jersey.”
“We were hoping to win, but we weren’t expecting to win by such a big margin,” Boels-Dolmans sports director Danny Stam added. “I didn’t think we could get more than 10 seconds.”
Without any intermediate sprints or climbs in the team time trial, the purple points jersey and green QOM jersey were awarded to the first riders across the line of the second and third fastest team. It meant Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) was awarded the purple jersey, and Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) will start in the green jersey tomorrow.
“It was a good evening with the team time trial,” Brand expressed in the Team Sunweb report. “Everything went pretty smooth, the course was mostly head-wind but we had a smooth train and everybody did a perfect job.”
“At the end there were some corners and we had decided beforehand that at this point we would finish with five,” she said. “We were able to go super fast towards the end and all of us sprinted into the centre to the finish. We are really happy with the team effort and pleased with the result. It’s a good start to the race and we are looking forward to the next nine days.”
There was also satisfaction at Orica-Scott. “I predicted we would finish third, most of the girls said it would be great to get third but expected to be around fourth or fifth, so I think it was probably a little bit better than we expected considering it hasn’t really been a huge focus event for us,” said sports director Gene Bates on the team website.
“We came into it with the goal of not conceding too much time to the other big teams,” Bates explained, “which I think we did really well. Everybody rode really well and everyone really contributed to the result.”
Orica-Scott eventually finished 22 seconds down on Boels-Dolmans, which Bates considers within reasonable limits for the Aussie squad. “It think it leaves us in a really good position going into the next stages,” he said. “We obviously wouldn’t want more than the 22 second loss we have, given the course.”
Check out Orica-Scott’s backstage pass of stage one for all the inside info. They’ll be bringing us daily updates from the Giro Rosa.
Stage two information
Stage two: Saturday July 1
Zoppola – Monterale Valcellina
With a maximum of one climb per stage, any stage with a category-2-climb is considered a climber’s stage. It’s the highest category climb appearing in this year’s Giro Rosa. But the Giro Rosa organisers are not easing the peloton into things, but are hoping for fireworks on the second day of the 2017 Giro Rosa already.
Before the peloton tackles the climb, it passes three intermediate sprint points where points for the purple points jersey are awarded, so we’re expecting a fierce fight from the start. And will the GC contenders be able to make a first difference on the climb, or will everything come back together in the final 25 descending kilometers to the line?
Jersey wearers going into stage two
Pink leader’s jersey: Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans)
Purple points jersey: Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb)
Green Queen of the Mountain jersey: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
White young rider jersey: Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans)
Blue best Italian rider jersey: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Check back tomorrow for the report of Giro Rosa stage two!