Former US road champion Ruth Winder has taken the overall lead of the re-branded Giro Donne after her Trek-Segafredo team won the opening stage team time trial in Cuneo on Friday.
The American squad won the opening stage time trial of the Giro Rosa last year and repeated the feat despite having issues with uneven pacing. Only when Lizzie Deignan signalled to her rest of the team was the issue solved.
They were in charge of the race throughout, clocking the fastest time at the intermediate time check. SDWorx were just behind them at that check, and it stayed that way, the Dutch team finishing the race just over eight seconds in arrears.
In third place, 39 seconds down, Alé-BTC Ljubljana were the surprise package, benefitting form the addition of Swiss powerhouse Marlen Reusser, who joined after finishing second at the world time trial championship last year.
BikeExchange and FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope are the biggest losers, Amanda Spratt’s Australian team losing 1-32. The French outfit is led by Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig who was fourth last year on the back of a similar performance in the team time trial, and the Dane would have been hoping for a better time this year.
Though the gaps are bigger, the top two is a repeat of last year’s result setting up a battle in the mountains which is set to begin on stage two.
Saturday’s second stage remains in the north west, the peloton taking on 2,000m of climbing over the 100km course, finishing at the ski resort of Prato Nevoso, 1607m above sea level. The final 18km ascend 1,133m at an average of 6 per cent, with a maximum of 13 per cent, ensuring the general classification will begin to take shape early in the race.
How it happened
Under new organisers, though with many of the same staff running actual the racing, the longest stage race on the women’s calendar has been rebranded to its original name, the Giro d’Italia Donne.
As it has done since 2017 the race began with a team time trial, this time in Italian north-west, in the foothills of the Alps, between the Piemontese towns of Fossano and Cuneo.
The mainly straight route dragged uphill for most of its 26.7km, with a few roundabouts and a coupe of steeper digs coming towards the finish in the centre of Cuneo, which as hosted stages of the men’s Giro and even the Tour de France, as well the Giro Donne in 2008.
The first of the 24 teams down the ramp was Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria, including Noemi Eremita, at 18 years 307 days, the youngest woman in the race. The Italian squad clocked 36-29, a time which some other more established teams were unable to match.
However, when BePink clocked 35-51 they set off a series of fastest times which culminated with Ceratizit-WNT setting a time of 34-59. The German squad are a strong outfit, with former world time trial champion Lisa Brennauer among their number, but it was Alé-BTC Ljubljana who set the standard, clocking 34-20.
Winner of last year’s opening time trial, Trek-Segafredo suffered when Lizzie Deignan suffered a mechanical, the team losing one of its real engines. However, even without her they took 39 seconds out of the Italian squad, stopping the clock in 33.41, with only Movistar and SDWorx left on the road.
Movistar were without their star turn Annemiek van Vleuten, the Dutch woman missing the race to concentrate on Olympic preparations, and were unable to challenge.
Giro d’Italia Donne, stage one: Fossano - Cuneo (26.7km, team time trial)
1. Trek-Segafredo (USA) 33-40
2. SDWorx (Ned) at 08 sec
3. Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 40 sec
4. Canyon-SRAM (Ger) at 45 sec
5. Movistar (Esp) at 55 sec
6. Jumbo-Visma (Ned) at 1-15
7. Ceratizit-WNT (Ger) at 1-18
8. Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank at 1-19
9. DSM at 1-23
10. BikeExchange at 1-32
General classification after stage one
1. Ruth Winder (USA) Trek-Segafredo in 33-40
2. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Lizzie Deignan (Gbr) Trek-Segafredo all at same time
5. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) SDWorx at 8 sec
6. Demi Vollering (Ned) SDWorx
7. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) SDWorx
8. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZ) SDWorx
9. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SDworx all at same time
10. Mavi Garcia (Esp) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 40 sec
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