Megan Guarnier will lead Boels-Dolmans in the most prestigious stage race of the year, the Giro Rosa starting this Friday (July 6). The winner of the Giro Rosa, part of the Women's World Tour, in 2016 is heading into the Giro d’Italia with the ambition to go for a top result. The winner of the Giro Rosa of 2015 and 2017 and the leader in the WorldTour Anna van der Breggen will not start in Verbania. However Van der Breggen will travel to Italy, but she will compete in the Mountainbike World Cup in Val di Sole this weekend (July 6-8).
The Giro Rosa, which will be held for the twenty-ninth time this year, has always been a good race for the Boels-Dolmans team with the overall win of Van der Breggen in 2017 and Guarnier in 2016. Guarnier will be accompanied in Italy by Karol-Ann Canuel , Chantal Blaak, Amy Pieters, Christine Majerus, Anna Plichta and Skylar Schneider.
Megan Guarnier is looking forward to the Giro Rosa, one of her main goals this season. "This edition of the Giro Rosa will be exceptionally hard with two mountaintop finishes and an uphill time trial. We have a very strong team and almost all riders have experience with racing the Giro Rosa. With the diversity of the stages there will be opportunities for the entire team during these ten days. This is one of my favorite races on the calendar and I love racing in Italy. The Giro Rosa is dynamic and very challenging and we race in a beautiful country. I look forward to start racing on Friday in Verbania. "
Karol-Ann Canuel will be one of the domestic riders for Guarnier in the mountains. The Canadian, who finished eight overall herself last year after having done a fantastic job for Van der Breggen and Guarnier is looking forward to do well in the Giro Rosa again. “The route is very tough this year. There is a lot of climbing and everyone knows that the Zoncolan is absolutely going to be brutal and epic. On the other hand, it is a bonus that there will be no long transfers between stages this year. "
"The team is very strong with some climbers and a few girls who can sprint. I think we are covered for every stage.", Canuel continues. "The Giro has always been a goal race for me. I hope that I can do well in the mountains and ride a good time trial. But the primary goal remains to support Megan. She has already won the Giro once and she can win it again this year.”
The 19-year old Skylar Schneider is making her debut in the Giro Rosa. The American who has always dreamed of participating in the most prestigious stage race on the calendar once is looking forward to racing in Northern Italy.
"This will be my first Giro Rosa. It is a race I have watched with admiration from afar. I have always dreamed of racing it myself one day. I am certain it will come with many challenges but I am optimistic about the opportunity and giving my teammates all of my effort to hopefully bring home the pink jersey once again to Boels-Dolmans.”
The Giro Rosa will start just like in 2017 with a team time trial of 15.5 kilometers in Verbania alongside the Lago Maggiore. Last year the team time trial in Grado was won by Boels-Dolmans in which Anna van der Breggen laid the foundation for her overall victory.
The second, third and fourth stage will normally be for the sprinters before heading into the mountains from stage five. Stage 6 is the first mountaintop finish in Gerola Alto, Stage 7 is a fifteen kilometer long uphill time trial and the ninth stage is the stage with finish on top of the notorious Monte Zoncolan. It will be the second time the Giro Rosa will climb the Zoncolan. In 1997 was the first time, however the finish was not at the top. However, the Zoncolan has been a finish in the men’s Giro d’Italia more often, soa lso this year when the stage was won after an exciting final by the later overall winner Chris Froome.
Stages (July 6-15):
Stage 1: Friday, July 6 - Verbania to Verbania, 115.5km
Stage 2: Saturday, July 7 - Ovada to Ovada, 120.3km
Stage 3: Sunday, July 8 - Corbetta to Corbetta, 132km
Stage 4: Monday, July 9 - Piacenza to Piacenza, 109km
Stage 5: Tuesday, July 10 - Omenga to Omenga, 117.7km
Stage 6: Wednesday, July 11 - Sovico to Gerola Alto, 114.1km
Stage 7: Thursday, July 12 - Lanzada to Diga di Campo Moro, 15km
Stage 8: Friday, July 13 - San Giorgio di Perlena to Breganze, 121.6km
Stage 9: Saturday, July 14 - Tricesimo to Monte Zoncolan, 104.7km
Stage 10: Sunday, July 15 - Cividale del Friuli to Cividale del Friuli, 120.3km
Total distance 974.9km
The race will also be shown every day, in a summary, on the Italian TV channel Rai Sport. Eurosport NL will also broadcast a daily show of about an hour after the stage of the Tour de France that day. If you want to follow it on Twitter, use the hashtag #UCIWWT
Boels-Dolmans for the Giro Rosa
Megan Guarnier (USA)
Karol-Ann Canuel (CAN)
Chantal Blaak (NED)
Amy Pieters (NED)
Christine Majerus (LUX)
Anna Plichta (POL)
Skylar Schneider (USA)