31st Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (2.WWT)

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Not as much as you might think, though; Paule Ka is the former Bigla-Cervélo team, which has really been surprising in TTTs for a while to the extent that we shouldn't be surprised any more. It's a bit more surprising now the likes of Cille, Leah Thomas and Ann-Sophie Duyck have moved on, but they were 2nd in last year's Giro TTT, 3rd in Vårgårda in 2018, 4th in the 2018 Giro TTT, 3rd in the 2017 Worlds TTT, 2nd in Vårgårda in 2017 and 2nd in Valencia in 2017. They're clearly a well-drilled and well-coached team in the discipline as they continually punch above their weight in TTTs and perform above the sum of their parts.
 
Not as much as you might think, though; Paule Ka is the former Bigla-Cervélo team, which has really been surprising in TTTs for a while to the extent that we shouldn't be surprised any more. It's a bit more surprising now the likes of Cille, Leah Thomas and Ann-Sophie Duyck have moved on, but they were 2nd in last year's Giro TTT, 3rd in Vårgårda in 2018, 4th in the 2018 Giro TTT, 3rd in the 2017 Worlds TTT, 2nd in Vårgårda in 2017 and 2nd in Valencia in 2017. They're clearly a well-drilled and well-coached team in the discipline as they continually punch above their weight in TTTs and perform above the sum of their parts.
Alright, then it was just me not knowing their TTT history enough. Nice to see them doing good after the sponsorship troubles in spring. And Fisher-Black lookes like a really solid talent so far this year.
 
Alright, then it was just me not knowing their TTT history enough. Nice to see them doing good after the sponsorship troubles in spring. And Fisher-Black lookes like a really solid talent so far this year.
They are definitely good at finding talents, they've historically run off a small roster and targeting a more specific race calendar accordingly. They may not be the immediate threat they were when they had Moolman-Pasio, Lepistö and Uttrup anymore, but there are definitely some useful prospects on the squad.
 
So, with the damage done (because the TTT does damage the integrity of the race's finding the best individual of course) let's see where everybody you'd say is a major contender is.

Longo Borghini - maglia rosa
Lizzie Deignan (? as to whether she will ride as a contender or not, as I said before this may be her best chance to contest the win in the Giro, but she doesn't tend to ride for GC in the Corsa Rosa Rosa) - s.t.
Van der Breggen +3"
Van Vleuten +5"
Spratt +5"
Labous +14"
Niewiadoma +16"
Vos +42"
Moolman-Pasio +42"
Magnaldi +43"
Santesteban +43"
Guderzo +49"
García +49"
Uttrup Ludwig +1'20"

For the most part no major gaps opened up, and the fact there's only 16" between the first 6 teams is a good thing. WNT and Alé's riders are secondary/tertiary contenders, you would say, but CCC losing that much time is a bit of a surprise, although Vos obviously has access with her skillset to more bonus seconds than pretty much every contender rider in front of her (only Deignan can potentially gather them in the same kind of quantity, and that will depend on if she wants to race this for GC with the Worlds a week later). The big shame is FDJ putting Cille over a minute back, clearly behind the other contenders. You might say "well, that's a good thing in that it will push her to attack more", but the fact of the matter is that Cille is the kind of rider who would have attacked anyway. Vos is saying she'll target stages rather than the GC here, but this is a race that Vos could almost get herself in the GC mix of just by doing that, really, as there isn't one of those super-climbs, although the talk at CCC is that Ash is the leader.
 
Come on! This race deserves a thread of its own, rather than to be chucked away in the general Women's Racing thread.

Here's the startlist

And now for an important question: Coverage? It's a WT race, so it has to have coverage! But surely the 50 minutes delayed coverage thing on ES Player doesn't actually count as coverage. Surely by "coverage" they mean live coverage?!

Stage info to follow in individual posts.
I would 100% rather have real coverage of this than the B-list Trentino that we are getting live
 
Ha my bad obviously I meant Tirreno and if we only have the TV space and crew for one I would much prefer live Giro Rosa
I wouldn't exactly call guys like Nibali, Froome, Geraint Thomas, Simon Yates, and Fuglsang "B-list", though...
Besides, it appears like it's the organisers that aren't producing live images. But doesn't that go against the there must be coverage for Women's WorldTour races rule? They don't actually consider delayed coverage to be real coverage, do they? Surely they could get a few cameras, and put it on YouTube.
 
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One suspects that, as I feared especially with regards to the ASO-run races, the time-compressed calendar due to the Covid lockdown is meaning a lot of coterminous races and the can is being kicked down the road because the women's races are easier to put by the wayside because many of them haven't been covered, or only have been covered in limited capacity, in previous years.
 
I'm not gonna write Anna off yet. All it takes is one well chosen move and Annemiek to get isolated, and with her having the potential for lingering effects after having crashed, and Spratt losing 4 minutes, that seems more plausible than it has done at any other time in the last two years. I'm also really pleased that basically Cille has written off all of her TTT losses in one fell swoop today.

There is some concern that this might end up like 2017, when we basically found out the podium on day 2, and then it was an 8 day battle to confirm the order of them with the lead staying with van der Breggen throughout; that day we found out who the strongest riders were (result is here. The lead three went on the climbs and Niewiadoma was there for a lot of it, but she cracked and dropped away and was caught by the chasers. Two days later, Annemiek botched her positioning in a flat stage when the bunch split and lost 2 minutes which would ultimately cost her, finishing at +1'39" after van der Breggen managed her gaps on the final stage around Torre del Greco.

This is the first southern route, and the least mountainous route, since then, so there is still some hope that we have a race on and Annemiek hasn't just Alarcónned it. Even so, the battle for the podium could be a really, really good one as van der Breggen is looking strong, while Niewiadoma has perhaps her best ever chance for the podium on a course with climbs that suit her range and coming into it with great form from La Course, and Cille is clearly making another step forward this year, is in great form save for that crash in Plouay, and is looking as strong as we've ever seen her; bearing in mind she's just turned 25, you'd expect her to be getting stronger here, and this is a positive sign.

Mikayla Harvey's performance is eye-opening too. Paule Ka/Bigla/Cervélo have a great track record for finding talent and though the other Kiwi, Niamh Fisher-Black, doesn't appear to have the pre-Giro form she showed, Harvey's result here is excellent, taking some serious scalps. I guess we get our definitive answer about Deignan, with her losing 11 minutes, but Longo Borghini wasn't great either. Sunweb also look like they're relegated to stagehunting with Labous losing 6 minutes. As mentioned in the preview, I'm less surprised by Lippert losing time as I think she's more a puncheuse, but I thought this stage with the climb being sterrato wouldn't be quite as destructive, although coming after so much up-and-down and the hilarious undercategorisation and non-categorisation of climbs, this was probably a much more sapping stage before the crucial climb than people thought.
 
Yes, Van der Breggen measured her effort today, while Annemiek seemed to have put much more in it.
Niewiadoma also kept something for the finale and it paid off.
Cecilie had the heart but the legs just weren't there. She'll also use a couple of seasons more to match these grownup girls.
Were they all slightly misgeared for the terrain today?
 
What in the hell were those roads lol? much, much rougher than the gravel sections in Strade Bianchi. The ES commentator waxing lyrical about AVV’s perfect style and control just as she snotted herself and started running was pretty amazing timing.

its a big pity that AVV smashed everyone so early. It’s less that she has over a minute thats a problem and more that all but three rivals are essentially dead already. That makes it much easier for her to avoid making bad tactical calls and much harder for chaotic racing to disrupt her dominance. I mean that stage was a great one day race but it was very bad news as day 2 of the Giro.
 
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Yea, those roads were really 'borderline', you'd say. As mentioned, much rougher than Strade Bianche.

Possibly the best thing for the race is that Spratt wasn't all that strong today, not that one means anything against Amanda, but that it means given the number of realistic contenders for Annemiek have been cut to only a small number, it's key that Annemiek herself would need to be involved in chasing these should they attack. And given neither Kasia nor Cille will ever die wondering, and Anna VDB is hardly a wallflower when it comes to aggressive racing when in form either, I can't imagine they won't attack, at least unless Annemiek's main form of defence is to pre-empt their attacks with ones of her own (which is certainly possible).

The real question then comes to whether if they can isolate Annemiek, if they can do a number on her, Castilla y León 2010-style, when Antón, Mosquera and Soler worked over Contador until Antón could get away. Is it likely? Perhaps not. But is it possible? Sure.

I'm a bit conflicted. I'd rather the GC battle not be settled so early, but I can't help but like and admire Annemiek despite my reservations regarding and dislike of domination, but also I can also foresee a potential podium with my two favourite riders on it.
 
Sunweb reports that all their protected riders today (Labous, Lippert and Mackaaij) suffered mechanicals on the gravel. Maybe also the reason why other big names fell behind.
Yea, could well be, as with how narrow it was as well, getting service to those riders will have been a nightmare. You saw on the highlights the trouble Floortje had getting going again, and how much trouble the camera bike had getting around García to show us ELB being dropped. I think Labous was their realistic GC leader, but if they are going to reappraise and look for stages there are definitely a couple that Liane should like the look of.
 

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