By Owen Rogers
Rabo-Liv set out their stall with a dominant Giro Rosa prologue display.
Marianne Vos’s Rabo-Liv stole the show at last night’s prologue in the Giro d’Italia Femminile. The Dutch team took the top four places at the opening time trial in the evening heat of Caserta, near Naples, last night.
Annamiek van Vleuten won the pan flat 2.5 km blast in a time of 2 minutes 26 seconds, clocking an average speed of 50.5kph, beating teammate Marianne Vos by one second. Van Vleuten, who won the Dutch time trial championship last week, was clearly happy with her performance, “I am so intensely happy,” she told the team website. “To win here is beautiful and I will definitely cherish the pink jersey.”
Rabo-Liv have been dominant in recent weeks, barely losing a race in June they filled the podium places at the Emekumeen Bira stage race in the Basque country. This dominance has led them to start the Giro with three leaders, Vos, French road and time trial champion, Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Anna van Der Breggen, meaning Van Vleuten knows her place in the pecking order.
“I know why I’m here, to support our general classification riders, but this is nice, it’s an incentive for the Giro.”
Defending champion, Mara Abbot (United Healthcare) began her defence finishing 37 seconds down and, whilst the time deficit is insignificant, the dominance of Rabo-Liv certainly is.
Santa Maria a Vico hosts tomorrow’s first road stage, which comprises 11 laps of 8.5 km circuit dominated by a climb of 3km and averaging 7%.
Giro d’Italia Femminile Prologue
1. Annamiek Ven Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) in 2:26
2. Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) +01
3. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) +05
4. Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) +07
5. Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS) +08
6. Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv) +08
7. Jolien D’Hoore (Lotto Belisol) +09
8. Shelley Olds A(lé Cipollini) +10
9. Ellen Van Dijk (Boels-Dolmans) +10
10. Amy Pieters (Giant-Shimano) +10
Cycling Weekly's guide to the biggest women's stage race, the Giro Rosa.