Only hours away from the July 3rd evening kick off for the 2015 Giro Rosa in Slovenia, the Bigla Pro Cycling Team is ready for the test ahead. As riders pin numbers on their jerseys for the 10-day grand tour, Bigla will be aiming for stage wins with a diverse squad.
“We want to do a good Giro overall,” Thomas Campana, team director for the team said. “This is another big test for us and we want to honour the race. It will be curious to see how we do in the time trials but overall we will look to do well with a balanced team.”
Tonight the women will face a technical, but flat, two-kilometre opening prologue that includes two 180-degree turns. The team will look to Annemiek van Vlueten for a possible win, after her success in 2014 notching two stages, including the prologue. Van Vlueten recently won the Emakumeen Euskal Bira prologue last month.
“The Giro is really special because it’s our equivalent of the men’s Tour de France,” added Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, the current African Continental dual national champion in both road and time trial. “It’s our only Grand Tour, it’s the longest stage race, and the toughest parcours I would say, and the most prestigious to win.”
The South African has had a strong start in 2015 with several top-ten finishes and a win in the one-day classic, Boels Rental Hills Classic. “I’m really happy the way things have gone this year in 2015,” she explains. A dream for her since she began cycling, she first raced in the Giro in 2010. “From the start, I was 17th in my first Giro, which was actually not that bad considering. Things have just improved every year from there so we’ll wait and see how this year goes.”
Two-time team time trial world champion Carmen Small is set to make her debut in Bigla colours at the Giro. The team recently added Small to their squad for the remainder of the season,after the departure of Shelley Olds. “I think Carmen is a great addition to our team and at a perfect time,” Moolman added. “She’s going to be a great help to the team, especially in the Giro.
"She adds strength in terms of her time trialling abilities. In terms of team strategy, I have every confidence in her that she will do whatever she needs to do to achieve the team goal.” The race stays in Slovenia for the first two stages before heading into Italy.
Doris Schweizer, and Joëlle Numainville are fresh off national title wins, while Sharon Laws will look to be making moves in the mountains as the team’s climber. Nicole Hanselmann, and developing young rider, 19-year-old Clara Koppenburg round out the team.
The race concludes in San Domenico di Varzo on Sunday, July 12th.
Bigla Pro Cycling Team for the Giro Rosa: Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, Annemiek van Vleuten, Carmen Small, Clara Koppenburg, Doris Schweizer, Joëlle Numainville, Nicole Hanselmann and Sharon Laws.