Team Takes on the Giro Rosa, Looks to Defend Abbott’s 2013 Victory
The women of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team head to Italy this week to make their first Giro Rosa appearance in blue and white with a stacked roster of immense talent and experience. Looking to continue their successful debut season, including overall victories at the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Vuelta El Salvador, and Tour of the Gila, the team will ride in support of two-time overall Giro Rosa winner and defending 2013 champion, Mara Abbott. In the mountainous stages, Mara will have the support of teammates Katie Hall and Sharon Laws. Sharon Laws took the overall Queen of the Mountains title at the 2014 Friends Life Women’s Tour of Britain. Katie Hall made her mark in the US professional road race by launching an impressive solo attack, setting up teammate Alison Powers to counterattack for victory. On the flatter stages and intermediate sprint competitions, the team will support multiple-time collegiate national champion Coryn Rivera and US national champion Alison Powers, who recently became the only female in American history to simultaneously hold all three national titles (road, time trail, and criterium). All-rounders Ruth Winder and British national criterium champion Hannah Barnes will lend their help on all stages, controlling the pace and covering moves from other teams. The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is pleased to also welcome all-rounder Scotti Wilborne to the team and Giro Rosa roster. Scotti joins the squad from Team Tibco, where her results have shown great consistency and a bright future.
Looking forward to the grand tour, Mara Abbott commented, “For us, the Giro is the biggest race of the year, and there is nothing that comes even close to comparing to it. The two times that I have won the Giro, I have raced on the National team, and it is so exciting to be going this year with a group of girls who have been racing together all year, and to be able to enjoy the level of support that we have already had on the team throughout the season. Each time I race the Giro, it is an experience far beyond explanation of challenge, presence and emotion. I am thrilled to begin this again.”
The 2014 edition includes a prologue and nine stages, totaling 953 kilometers raced over ten days. The grand tour begins with a short and flat evening prologue, only 2 kilometers in length along corso Trieste in the city of Caserta. In stage 1, the riders will race around the city of Santa Maria A Vico eleven times, covering over 95 kilometers and cresting a 200-meter climb with each lap. The race then moves to the nearby town of Frattamaggiore for another circuit race on stage 2, this one geared towards sprinters with its relatively flat six laps. Stage 3 is the race’s first point-to-point race, starting back in Caserta and taking the riders a long a 125.3-kilometer route to San Donato Val Di Comino. The stage also serves as the first test for the climbers and general classification contenders with intermediate rollers beginning just 20 kilometers in the stage, leading into the category-2-ranked Belmonte Castello ascent. The 118-kilometer stage 4 will lead the riders on a scenic route along the Adriatic coast from Alba Adriatica north to Loreto before turning inland and climbing to the city of Jesi for the finish. The next day, the riders we depart from Jesi and race back out to the coast, then along the coastline north to Cesenatico. Stage 5 will present an opportunity for the sprinters, with only one category 3 climb between the starting line and a high-speed finale in Cesenatico. The battle for the pink jersey will escalate in stage 6 from Gaiarine to San Fior. The first 60 kilometers feature three sharp but short climbs, two of which offer the opportunity for QOM points. Abbott will have her sights on the category 1 ascent to La Crosetta, a 13-kilometer challenge with potential for substantial time gains. Once over the massive climb, the riders will descend down to San Fior for the finish.
In sharp contrast, stage 7 begins immediately with a category 2 climb to the summit of Teglio. After the climb, the riders will fight for sprint points near the 25-kilometer point, then keep the pace high all the way to Chiavenna where the 91.8-kilometer stage concludes. With eight days of racing already in their legs, the focus will turn again to the climbers and GC hopefuls on the stage 8, in which the riders will cover over 90 hilly kilometers and finish atop San Domenico. Mara Abbott will be the rider to watch again on this queen stage, having soloed to victory here in 2013. The 9th and final stage of the 2014 Giro Rosa begins in Trezzo sull’Adda and takes the riders on an undulating route before the final climb to the finish city of Magreglio. With a climb in the very final kilometers of the 10-day race, there is potential for the final pink jersey fight to come down to the very last moments. Follow along on our social channels as the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team battles for grand tour victory.