A bit of late season racing going on in Italy to keep up to speed on; a lot of the big guns have brought their seasons to a halt after Innsbruck, but still a few decent names out there racing.
Firstly, Elena Cecchini took her first national TT jersey, effectively stepping up one from last year's result in the absence of defending champion Elisa Longo Borghini, who is resting post-Worlds. The Canyon rider and multiple former road race champion managed to triumph by a mere 11 seconds over new World Hour Record holder Vittoria Bussi, who became the first woman to top the 48km mark a few weeks ago. The podium was rounded out by Rossella Ratto, but six riders made it within 35", ranging from 19yo neopro Elena Pirrone to established veteran Tatiana Guderzo, who wasn't resting post-Worlds, despite having obviously had a very tough day in Innsbruck to come home with a medal.
In the Giro dell'Emilia, Rasa Leleivyte broke from her tradition of low top 10 types of placements on punchy finales to take the victory; the Lithuanian champion came to the sport as a versatile sprinter, but since returning from her suspension in 2014 has been more suited to punchy terrain, with a number of high profile top 10s, including the GP Plouay, a Giro stage in San Fior, the European Championships in Plumelec, and the Ronde van Vlaanderen. She has been edging forward in the Giro dell'Emilia year by year, 4th in 2015, 2nd in 2017 and now winning in 2018, ahead of two of the sensations of 2017 who have had difficult second years at the top. Arlenis Sierra started the season well but has rather tailed off in the middle of the year, while Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig had health problems in the early season which were thankfully resolved in time for her playgrounds in the mountains in July where she returned to strong performance levels both on the bike and in interviews. The evergreen Guderzo has had a fairly low-key season ending strongly, and finished 4th, the last of their group before a time gap back to Ane Santesteban and a group dominated by the BTC team, with Ursa Pintar, Hanna Nilson and Polona Batagelj all present and correct.
Finally, the GP Bruno Beghelli Donne Elite was an incredibly short, rolling route that took barely 2 hours to complete, and ended with a reduced sprint, which was won impressively by bespectacled 20-year-old sprinter Elisa Balsamo ahead of her highly decorated compatriot Marta Bastianelli and the teenage sensation for Parkhotel, Lorena Wiebes. Finishing 11th in Emilia, Balsamo is clearly more than 'just' a sprinter, but she's very quietly had a very strong season in .1 and .2 races and could well be one for the future.
Although there's a Women's World Tour event in the Tour of GuangXi as a one-day race, it's also true that the season is basically wrapped up for most of the riders now, seeing as for the most part the péloton is based out of Europe. There is the Chrono des Nations next Sunday, but that's all for European road racing this season; the rest of the remaining road calendar for the year is distant races in South America and Asia, and the elites are either resting up now, or setting up their seasons for track or 'cross...