Van Vleuten and Mitchelton-SCOTT women motivated to defend their Giro-Rosa titleMon 1 Jul 2019
Mitchelton-SCOTT women return to the Giro-Rosa as the defending champions, looking for a second consecutive title in a hard edition of the 10-day Italian Grand Tour starting on Friday.
After their success last year, the team knows what it takes to win such a race and is well prepared, bringing arguably the strongest line-up to date, ready to perform in the main goal of the 2019 season, the only women's Grand Tour of the year.
The 2018 champion, Annemiek van Vleuten, will lead the six-rider team with a strong support squad built around her, including talented Australian climbers Amanda Spratt, who finished in third-place in last year's race, and the recent Durango-Durango winner Lucy Kennedy.
Bringing the crucial horsepower and speed to round-out the impressive squad will be Dutch super domestique Moniek Tenniglo, sprinter Sarah Roy and Australian time trial champion Grace Brown, who will make her debut appearance in the race.
Like last year, the Giro-Rosa will begin with an 18kilometre team time trial to get the wheels in motion. For 2019, the race will also feature two summit finishes, the first coming on day-five with a much-anticipated summit finish on the Passo di Gavia, and the second on stage nine, finishing at the top of the Malga Montasio.
These stages are likely to be key general classification days along with another major test on stage-six, a brutal 12kilometre uphill individual time trial, where Van Vleuten will get to show off her world championship rainbow bands once again.
The general classification should be quite clear going into the final stage, the riders just need to tackle a cobble climb up to the finish in Udine where the final race winner will be crowned.
In 2018 Mitchelton-SCOTT set out to win the overall general classification in the event for the first time and did so, dominating the race in style. The Australian outfit claimed six out of ten stage wins on offer with two riders finishing on the podium in first place (Van Vleuten) and third place (Spratt) along with claiming the points and mountains jerseys.
Previous to this, the team finished on the podium in 2017 with third place (Van Vleuten) and fifth place (Spratt).
Every year the women’s peloton increases it’s strength and depth and this year is no different. The new Trek-Segafredo team has had a strong start, claiming many victories and includes local Italian climber Elisa Longo-Borghi who will be one of the main competitors.
Former winner Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) returns to the start line and along with last year's runner-up Ashleigh Moolman (CCC-Liv), they will be two key riders to watch. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram) are amongst other big names likely to be prominent in the race.
Annemiek van Vleuten - Team Leader and 2018 Champion
“I’m super excited, I really love the Giro-Rosa, it is the biggest stage race and it is a super beautiful team goal to do it together. It is really a team effort, not just the riders but all the staff and everybody is preparing for it a lot, doing recon and even between the girls, it feels like everybody wants to be in the team.
“I think I have prepared optimally for it, I know altitude works well for me. It was train, eat, rest, repeat for three-weeks, so I have worked very hard for this.
"I was also together with Amanda and Lucy at altitude and before at Bira, Spratt showed she is super good form with a stage win and also for Lucy Kennedy to win in Durango, we came home from that race with a good team spirit. I think we are coming in with some a really good team also with some horsepower with Moniek, Sarah and Grace.
“I’ve been so focused on the Giro-Rosa and not really doing any flat time trial training, I rode my time trial bike but more uphill, so I knew if at the nationals I wasn’t super strong I could explain it, but to win the national time trial with such a big time difference, it gives me a good sign that I still have power.
"I feel really strong and feel confident going to the Giro, now I know the power is still there and I am super prepared for the climbing too and that combination can work out very well.
“With two summit finishes it is epic, also with an uphill team time trial and individual time trial and a few more stage finishes slightly uphill, they designed a really hard Giro this year. I really love that they put in a famous climb like the Gavia so people back home can understand what we are doing in the Giro and that there are really hard climbs.
“I have the feeling that more girls are targeting the race this year, I’ve seen many girls climbing better, it will be a good battle and that makes it nice that all the climbers will there this year.
“It will be good to have Anna van der Breggen there this year, Katie Hall is also good climber but wasn’t at the race in 2018, and I expected Boels-Dolmans to bring many other strong climbers that can target the GC that weren’t there last year, so that will for sure be a factor. The harder the battle the better.”
Martin Vestby - Sport Director
“We are going into this race fully committed to defending our title and win with Annemiek. We have a strong team, we have riders who are really really strong on the climbs and the other riders who are strong and powerful, so I think we are very well balanced.
“There is always so much that can happen during a long 10-day stage race, so you never know, you can have a bad moment or bad luck and everything can change, but with Annemiek’s form and this course that should suit her very well, we have a big chance to win and we have prepared very well for this race.
“The Gavia stage is obviously a key stage, but I think there’s quite a few key stages were you can win or lose the race or see surprises to the GC. The time trial stage will also play a big part too.
“This year there’s not too many sprint stages, so I don’t think too many teams will bring too many big sprinters which opens up a possibly that Roy can get a chance to sprint for herself if the situation allows. But we will always solely focus on the GC, that is very clear and of course our main goal for this year’s Giro-Rosa.”
Giro-Rosa 2019 Race Details:
Friday, 5th July: Stage 1: Cassano Spinola-Castellania, 18km (TTT)
Saturday, 6th July: Stage 2: Viù-Viù, 78km
Sunday, 7th July: Stage 3: Sagliano Micca-Piedicavallo, 104km
Monday, 8th July: Stage 4: Lissone-Carate Brianza, 100km
Tuesday, 9th July: Stage 5: Ponte in Valtellina-Passo Gavia, 100km
Wednesday, 10th July: Stage 6: Chiuro-Teglio, 12km (ITT)
Thursday, 11th July: Stage 7: Cornedo Vicentino-Fara Vicentina, 128km
Friday, 12th July: Stage 8: Vittorio Veneto-Maniago, 133km
Saturday, 14th July: Stage 9: Gemona-Malga Montasio, 125km
Sunday, 15th July: Stage 10: San Vito al Tagliamento-Udine, 120km