In Denmark Julie road a perfect race but missed a gear in the final sprint. She had to settle for third. In France Audrey missed the break and had to settle for the peloton sprint 9th. The Italians decided to remove some climbs because of the weather – Elisa was 6th. In Norway we basically failed to pull back a early breakaway, Reacted to slow and Cecilie was 25 seconds too late to defend her jersey. In Sweden Sara was 12th after a frustrating race.
Like the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile, also known as the Giro Rosa is the marquee race of the cycling season. Held from July 4-13, while the men tackle the climbs of the Pyrenees the women will tackle the unforgiving climbs of northern Italy.
Raced over ten stages – a prologue individual time trial and nine road stages – and 953km the race, now in it’s 25th edition, starts in the southern Italian town of Caserta before finishing on a climb made famous by the Giro di Lombardia, Madonna del Ghisallo more than a week later.
Hitec Products Sports Director, Marc Bracke believes this edition of the Giro Rosa is one of the hardest in years.
“I looked at the parcours and it’s a difficult Giro Rosa this year, there are a variety of stages like flat and mountain stages but importantly there are three mountain top finishes,” Bracke said.
The eight Hitec Products riders headed to Caserta for the opening prologue are: Elisa Longo Borghini, Ashleigh Moolman, Audrey Cordon, Chloe Hosking, Lauren Kitchen, Julie Leth, Emilie Moberg and Cecile Gotaas Johnsen.
“I’ve selected a team of riders that I think can win on a variety of terrain,” Bracke said.
“We have riders who can win a stage like Chloe (Hosking), Audrey (Cordon) and Ashleigh (Moolman) and we have our strong Italian Elisa Longo Borghini who can really challenge for the general classification, and in her home country,” he said.
“We’ve also got great support riders who can really help our leaders. Julie Leth just won the Danish time-trial championships and she will be there to help the in the stages as will Lauren, Cecilie and Emilie,”
“I won’t lie about this, I hope that we can win one or two stages and have Elisa in the top three for general classification,”
“I believe that we have the riders to achieve these results. The helpers believe in the team so why not believe that we can beat the bigger teams,”
The biggest small team in the world of women’s cycling will be in action tomorrow evening, beginning the ten day stage race with a 2km prologue which starts at 8.30pm CET.
Julie had the godess of time on her side when she won the Danish ITT with 29 hundreds of a second over Vallin. Audrey did not when she took a nice silver in France, but lost the gold with an agonizing 2 seconds. In Norway Cecilie dissapointed herself with the bronze, when Emilie had a good day with 7th place. Sara took a fine 6th in Sweden after being 4th halfway.
Cecilie took a 3d place in this race and Julie 4th. Emilie did not finish after a crash
Team: Julie Leth, Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen, Emilie Moberg
The 4 rider team did a very good job against a strong field, and although Ashleig missed the break, she was agonizing close to retrieve it. But in the end she had to settle for a 10th place in the race she won last year. Winner was Emma Johansson (Orica). Read Chloe Hoskings race report here
Team: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Miriam Bjørnsrud, Lauren Kitchen, Chloe Hosking
In a somewhat dissapointing stage race compared to last year, the team took comfort in Julies overall 10th spot. The star of 2013 Cecilie, crashed on the first day and never came back in the top.
Team; Julie Leth, Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen, Lauren Kitchen, Tone Hatteland Lima, Sara Olsson, Emilie Moberg