UnitedHealthcare set for Giro Rosa debut

Team riding for two-time winner Mara Abbott

The UnitedHealthcare women's team makes it Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile debut on Friday, backing two time winner and defending champion Mara Abbott for the overall victory.

In 2014, its debut season, the team has already notched overall victories at the Tour Femenino de San Luis, Vuelta El Salvador and Tour of the Gila, while Alison Powers became the first American to simultaneously hold the road, time trial and criterium national titles.

"For us, the Giro is the biggest race of the year, and there is nothing that comes even close to comparing to it," said Abbott. "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 begins with a short 2km prologue in Caserta which is followed by nine stages, totalling 953 kilometers of racing over ten days.

During the race, Abbott will be supported by Katie Hall, and Sharon Laws who won the Queen of the Mountains title at the 2014 Women's Tour of Britain in the mountain stages. Multiple-time collegiate national champion Coryn Rivera and Powers will shepherd Abbott through the flatter stages while Ruth Winder and British national criterium champion Hannah Barnes will look to cover moves from rival teams.

All-rounder Scotti Wilborne joins the team from Team Tibco and is drafted into Giro squad after a consistent start to the season.

UnitedHealthcare for the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile: Mara Abbott, Hannah Barnes, Katie Hall, Sharon Laws, Alison Powers, Coryn Rivera, Scotti Wilborne and Ruth Winder.

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