The final day of racing was always going to be much more than a formality for Mara Abbott as she rolled down the start ramp for her final individual test against the clock at the Giro Rosa. However, with nearly two and a half minutes in hand the money was always going to be on the 2010 Giro Donne winner. In fact the wearer of the maglia rosa could begin her celebrations early, crossing the line with a smile from ear to ear.
"I can finally say I managed to do it! Thanks goes to my team, the public and all those who believed in me," Abbott said after stepping down from the race podium as winner of the pink jersey and climber’s classification.
The US National Team rider took over race leadership after a commanding solo stage win on Day 5 and strengthened her grip with a repeat the next day into San Domenico. Her US National Team proved more than capable of controlling the race for the now two-time winner who has five stage victories in the Italian race formerly known as the Giro Ciclistico Internazionale Femminile or Giro Donne.
"Today was a wonderful way to finish off a great team event with taking home a pink jersey," said US Team director Jack Seehafer at the finish of the time trial. "All the ladies rose to the occasion and executed their jobs in a professional manner. For myself this is very exciting to see, and builds great momentum for the rest of the season."
Abbott knew she would need time up her sleeve when it came to Sunday’s 16km ITT and that a third stage win would be unlikely but the she did more than enough to secure the title despite losing 2:14 to the day’s winner Eleonora Van Dijk (Specialized Lululemon). The multiple US national road champion eventually finished 1:33 ahead of Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giordana) while Claudia Häusler (Tibco To The Top) stepped onto the third step 2:18 behind the American in the battle for the overall classification.
With the women’s equivalent to the Giro d’Italia wrapped up Abbott was looking forward to heading home where she will rejoin her Exergy Twenty16 trade team but vowed to return to defend her title.
"Now, I’ll have an ice-cream, pack my stuff and fly back home where I’ll celebrate with my family and friends. I’ll be back to the Giro to try to be the best once again and to feel the warmth of the Italian fans.”