What a performance Team SD Worx has achieved in the most important stage race of the year. If we had been asked in advance about the results in the Giro d'Italia Donne, we would not have dared to dream about this!
Three beautiful stage wins, several podium places in the stages, the leader's jersey for nine days, the victory in the general classification, the entire podium in the final classification, winner of the youth jersey, the points classification and the best team of this Giro d'Italia Donna.
About the race....
In the opening stage, a team time trial, Team SD Worx was beated by Trek-Segafredo, but Niamh Fisher-Black immediately took the lead in the youth classification.
During stage 2, nobody could keep Anna van der Breggen's wheel at 7.5 kilometers from the finish on the climb to Prato Nevoso. In addition to the stage win, she also took the lead in the general classification. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Demi Vollering completed the podium of the day, as a result of which Team SD Worx immediately took control of the classification with a nice 1-2-3.
“It was really hard work”, said Van der Breggen afterwards. “We had one task today and that was to take as much time as possible. If you have a bigger margin, it's easier to control the coming stages."
The fourth stage was an individual climb time trial of 11.2 kilometers. Time for the fight against the clock, and as the Olympic time trial in Tokyo is soon, this time trial was an excellent opportunity for a rehearsal. World time trial champion Van der Breggen once again impressed in the pink leader's jersey and took no less than 1:06 ahead of the number two of this stage, Demi Vollering. With this result she strengthened her leading position in the GC.“This was a good test for the Olympic Games”, Van der Breggen admit. “We don't have a lot of time trials like this, actually never. It was really nice to ride this time trial.”
The following stages were hectic, it was hot and the team had to defend the pink jersey. The whole team did this in an excellent way.
The penultimate stage, stage 9, was the queen stage to the top of Monte Matajur. A dreaded day! At the foot of the climb Moolman-Pasio managed to get away with Elisa Longo-Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) but Longo-Borghini had to let go and it was the South African climber of Team SD Worx who finished solo. A beautiful victory! It was her tenth Giro, but she had never won a stage before. “It was worth to wait” was her first reaction after the finish. The mountain stage once again ended with a complete Team SD Worx podium, as Vollering and Van der Breggen claimed the second and third place.
In the final stage, Van der Breggen's pink leader's jersey was no longer in danger, as was the entire race. Van der Breggen was neatly present in the leading group in finish place Cormons and was able to celebrate her fourth overall victory in the most prestigious stage race in women's cycling. An unprecedented achievement. Although the Italian Fabiana Luperini remains the record holder with five overall victories.
After the various ceremonies, the entire team was asked to get on the podium to receive the prize of 'best team'. Time for champagne!
"It means a lot to me to win a stage race like this," said Van der Breggen before she could get on the podium. “It were ten tough days and it's stressful to wear the pink jersey for nine days, so that last day also felt a bit like the end. I felt very tired, but also happy.”
“It feels really amazing, to wake-up the day after a 10 day stage race like the Giro d'Italia Donne together with the team" says Moolman-Pasio this morning. "I'm really feeling so happy and tired off course now. But just really, really happy to have had such an amazing tour with the team and to have walked away with so much success. Personally, and also in the team. It has been sort of a challenging period for me. The past two years, I haven't had the best of luck. So it's really special to feel that I'm finally finding my flow and getting really back in to things, and this results just before the Olympic Games. The Giro was really a perfect preparation for Tokyo. Besides this, it was really special to be part of Anna's final Giro and her fourth victory. She is really an amazing athlete and it's always so special to be part of her success and to learn from her. Because she is very inspirational. And I think just within the team, we had a really great team spirit. Where we really gave everything of our best, every single one of us. Both the team and staff. That inspires one and another, when we each giving our best. Then we inspire each other to be our best. I think we have an amazing balance within the team of working really well together and being united. But also challenging one and other to be better than we were before."
Demi adds: :It was a super nice week. A stage race like this is always super intensive. I think it's a perfect test to see how good you are as a team. How good you can work together and I think we passed that test very well. We were able to work together and the atmosphere was always great. We had a lot of fun and worked hard during the race. I am very satisfied with my three podium places. I especially prefer my podium place of the time trial because I have spent a lot of time on this discipline in the past year. The course suited me very well and that I could finish second here, behind Anna, gave me a very good feeling. It was a great feeling to be dominate in the mountain stages with the team. That really gives a kick! I gained a lot of confidence from training with teammates in the mountains. I went to the Giro with great enthusiasm and it was also an important goal, but now that the Olympics have come along, I hoped to survive the Giro safely. I especially wanted to leave the Giro with a good feeling, know what I can do and achieve good results. So, I can be satiesfied! For now I'll take it easy for a few days and before i'll go to Tokyo.
Photo credits: Getty Sport