Over the weekend, the pro-women took on the Giro del Trentino Donne a short, two day, three stage race in the mountains of northern Italy.
Although big name teams Rabobank-Liv/Giant and Lotto Belisol weren’t racing, the rest of the peloton were fighting hard – giving us an insight into what we might expect in the Giro Rosa in two weeks time, the closest equivalent to a Tour de France for the women.
Stage 1, Saturday 15 June
11.5km Team Time Trial (TTT), Revò – Lauregno
The morning of day one saw the Giro del Trentino open with a Team Time Trial (TTT), a short but hilly 11.5km course. TTTs are a specialist discipline – all the team, racing together against the clock.
The results were definitely unexpected. Italian team BePink set down an excellent time that no one could beat, including the other TTT experts, ORICA-AIS, who had an uncharacteristically difficult ride, finishing in 8th 1:26 behind.
Specialized-lululemon, who are missing some of their time trialling powerhouses in Carmen Small, who was racing in the USA, and Ellen van Dijk, who’s preparing for the Dutch national championships next weekend, still managed to come second – but with a climbing stage in the afternoon, BePink’s lead was unlikely to last the day.
- BePink, 0:26:19
- Specialized-lululemon, + 00:14
- Cipollini-Giordana, s.t.
Stage 2, Saturday 15 June
88.6km road race, Termon – Termon
The afternoon of day one saw the riders take on an 88.6km circular course. More suited to the climbers in the teams, it had a long arduous climb nearing the end, only letting up for a brief descent before a sharp uphill finish.
Over the course of the race there were the usual attacks and riders escaping, but while Specialized-lululemon may have broken their TTT run, they were firmly in control of the peloton.
It all came down to the final climb, where Specialized’s planning paid off. Evelyn Stevens demonstrated why she’s the teams’ climbing star, surging off up the hill, and gaining time as the road got steeper. In a repeat of last week’s Emakumeen Bira, only ORICA’s Emma Johansson and Elisa Longo Borghini of Hitec Products UCK chased after her, along with 2009 Road World Champion Tatiana Guderzo (Cipollini-Giordana).
While they couldn’t catch Stevens, they finished together, still able to challenge for the overall race lead.
- Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon, 2:45:50
- Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, + 00:39
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK, + 00:40
Stage 3, Sunday 16 June
103.8km road race, San Romedio – Sarnonico
The final stage was a much tougher proposition – a gruelling 103km – starting with a 10km climb then six laps of a unrelentingly hilly course.
Early in the race, a large group or riders broke away. Their lead didn’t last long, with race favourite BePink’s Noemi Cantele along with the rest of the bunch catching them up.
At just over halfway, Shara Gillow of ORICA, who’d been in the initial break away, had another go. Along with Valentina Scandolara (Cipollini), Rossella Ratto (Hitec) and Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Faren-Let’s Go Finland) they worked together, to increase their lead on any chasers.
In the chase group Specialized-lululemon controlling the field made progress gaining on the escapees. Gillow decided she had to make a move before they were caught, and attacked on the climb in the penultimate lap.
Although Specialized-lululemon managed to catch the other escapees, Gillow worked hard and kept her lead to win the stage – her first victory of the season since she won the Australian Individual Time Trial Championships in January.
- Shara Gillow (Aus) ORICA-AIS, 3:17:27
- Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, + 01:05
- Rossella Ratto (Ita) Hitec Products UCK, s.t.
Stevens is on excellent form at the moment, and with the European riders facing their National Championships this week, she’ll be preparing for her big goal, the Giro Rosa.
- Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon, 6:04:22
- Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Cipollini-Giordana, + 00:46
- Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) Cipollini-Giordana, + 01:15
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products UCK, + 01:30
- Georgia Williams (NZl) BePink, + 01:40
- Emma Johansson (Swe) ORICA-AIS, + 01:47
- Shara Gillow (Aus) ORICA-AIS, + 01:49
- Svetlana Stolbova (Rus) Pratomagno Women, + 02:07
- Jessie Daams (Bel) Boels Dolmans, + 02:22
- Rossella Ratto (Ita) Hitec Products UCK, + 02:31