CANYON//SRAM Racing announce a seven-rider line up for the Giro Rosa starting Friday 30 June. Leading the squad will be Italian riders Elena Cecchini and Barbara Guarischi. Alongside is Tiffany Cromwell who won a sprint stage in the 2016 edition of the Giro Rosa. They’re joined by Hannah Barnes, American duo Alexis Ryan and Leah Thorvilson, and Trixi Worrack.
“The Giro Rosa has always been an important stage race on the women’s calendar. It’s the closest thing we have to a grand tour and with that it’s held in high regard and prestige,” said Australian rider Cromwell. “Many riders dream of winning this race and having the iconic maglia rosa on their shoulders.”
The ten-day stage race will start with a team time trial opening stage in Aquialeia, near to the hometown of Cecchini. The 2017 Giro Rosa has been touted as one for the sprinters rather than outright climbers due to a lack of categorised mountains. Guarischi believes it may surprise many.
“It will be still very hard because there are a lot of stages up and down. Stage two at Montereale Valcellina I’m confident is a bunch sprint, but many of the other stages have climbs in the middle that can split the peloton and it’s up to how hard we make the race,” said Guarischi who won the opening stage of the 2015 Giro Rosa.
“This year it’s lacking the high mountains but it has a good combination of climbing, sprint and opportunistic stages which is better for our team,” added Cromwell. “Certainly the opening TTT will be a big goal for the team to put together a strong performance and capture the maglia rosa.”
The tour starts in the north-west Udine region of Italy, winding its way down through Veneto and Emilia-Romagna before a 12.7km hilly individual time trial stage five in Sant’Elpidio A Mare in Marche. Three consecutive stages from stage seven to nine are in Salerno, a region the Giro Rosa rarely visits. The final stage and newly crowned winner will be decided in Naples, with a stage that climbs partway up Mount Vesuvius.
Cromwell believes the team can have an open plan. “We have a mixed team this year for the Giro Rosa. A mix of great experience and previous stage winners, combined with fresh faces. Losing Alena Amialiusik to a broken pelvis at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour has put a hole in our GC ambitions, but that being said someone like Elena can step up to the challenge for GC. I believe the course suits her better than previous years.”
The action can be followed on Twitter with #UCIWWT and #GiroRosa with a daily broadcast on Rai TV and evening highlights on the UCI Youtube channel.