Mitchelton-SCOTT women head to Italy for their main and most important goal of the season, the ten-day Giro-Rosa, with the clear ambition of claiming a general classification victory.
After a lot of focus and preparation for the WorldTour event, the Australian outfit are ready for the challenge with a strong seven-rider team, aiming to bring the pink jersey to Mitchelton-SCOTT. World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten and Emakumeen XXX. Bira winner Amanda Spratt will lead the squad having finished in third and fifth place respectively in 2017 and shown top form throughout the season.
A team time trial once again kicks off proceedings for the 14th round of the only women’s ‘Grand Tour’ of the season, followed by two flat stages before the race really settles into the climbs.
The first uphill finish comes on stage six, followed by a gruelling 15km uphill individual time trial on stage seven. This stage is likely to be a key indicator for who will win the overall, with no room for respite or hiding.
The sprinters should have their final opportunity on stage eight before the monstrous Queen stage on the penultimate day, which features Monte Zoncolan, a 10.1 kilometres climb at 11.9%.
The riders selected for the Mitchelton-SCOTT team are Jolien D´Hoore, Gracie Elvin, Lucy Kennedy, Sarah Roy, Amanda Spratt, Annemiek van Vleuten and Georgia Williams.
Having won two stages and two jerseys in 2017, Van Vleuten will be a key contender for the overall victory in what will be her tenth appearance in the race. Alongside her, in-form Spratt will be looking to use her consistent form of 2018, as the Mitchelton-SCOTT duo look to use team’s numbers to their advantage.
Double New Zealand champion Georgia Williams and Australian Lucy Kennedy, who makes a come back to racing after a crash in Amstel Gold race, will provide the two leaders with important support on the climbs. Meanwhile, two recent OVO Women’s Tour stage winners in Jolien D’hoore and Sarah Roy, along with Gracie Elvin, boost the team’s strength and depth and give options for the potential sprint stages.
Annemiek van Vleuten – “I’m really looking forward to the Giro-Rosa this year, it is a big target for the team and it will be my tenth time racing it this year. I think I have proven that I am climbing well and it will be great to have Amanda Spratt and the addition of Lucy Kennedy. I think we will have a super strong climbing team.
“Last year I won the TT and this year I think it will be even harder, it is only uphill so it will be a special time trial. The second to last day we finish uphill on the Zoncolon, the same as the men raced in this year’s Giro d’Italia, so it will be a super hard edition of the Giro-Rosa and we will for sure need our best climbing legs.”
Amanda Spratt – “My biggest feeling going into the Giro this year is excitement. Since Emakumeen XXX Bira I have had a training block in Stelvio and Livigno which went really well. I’ve had a big climbing focus and I think the body is ready for a big Giro with the team.
“We have a really strong and experienced team for the Giro, it was our first year targeting GC last year, so this year we can take a lot of what we learnt and hopefully use. I think we have riders to cover all race scenarios and I’m looking forward to showing that. I think it’s a course that suits our team and our GC ambitions. On paper it looks like the hardest Giro I will ever do and my preparation has been adjusted accordingly.
“At Bira we already saw that we can have many riders in the hilly finals with Annemiek, Georgia and myself, and we will also welcome Lucy Kennedy back who will be another key player on the mountainous days. Having numbers in the final allowed us to win Emakumeen XXX Bira and I think we will certainly look to use our numbers again at the Giro.
“With the Giro you always get used to expecting the unexpected but I think for sure the Zoncolan stage will be a decisive day. It comes so late in the Giro, and if your legs don’t come to the party then you could give away minutes on that climb alone.”
Mitchelton-SCOTT team for the Giro Rosa
Annemiek van Vleuten
Giro-Rosa – 6-15th July
Friday, 6th July: Stage 1, Verbena to Verbena, 15.5km TTT
Saturday, 7th July: Stage 2, Ovada to Ovada, 120km
Sunday, 8th July: Stage 3: Corbett to Corbett, 132km
Monday, 9th July: Stage 4, Placenza to Placenta, 109km
Tuesday, 10th July: Stage 5, Omegna to Omegna, 117km
Wednesday, 11th July: Stage 6, Sovico to Gerola Alta, 114km
Thursday, 12th July: Stage 7, Lanzada to Dighe di Campo , 15km ITT
Friday, 13th July: Stage 8, San Giorgiodi to Breganze, 126km
Saturday, 14th July: Stage 9, Tricesimo to Monte Zoncolan, 104km
Sunday, 15th July: Stage 10, Cividale del Friuli, 120km