Women's World Champion Tatiana Guderzo will make her return to racing at the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige - Südtirol stage race, having been out of action since last month's Tour de l'Aude because of tendonitis in her knee.
Guderzo's Team Valdarno will face a quality field in the three-day Italian event which is considered important preparation for one of the season's main events, the Giro Donne (women's Giro d'Italia).
"For sure Trentino will be an important test to see how Tatiana Guderzo's form is," said Giancarlo Montedori, the team manager. "She hasn't raced since the Tour de l'Aude. It'll also be important to get racing in the rider's legs so that they're ready for the Giro, that's been our big goal right from the start of the season. Monia Baccaille came off the Spanish race pretty well and can do well on the second stage. The young riders will be motivated because they know they have to earn their place in the Giro team."
Last year's winner Nicole Cooke will also be on the line in Trento on Friday for the first of three stages. Her goal for the race is not only to defend her title, but to prepare to defend her national title as well.
“I am looking forward too going back to this race and it should set me up well for the national championships” Nicole said to British Cycling.
“I missed out on the Tour de l'Aude Cycliste Féminin race and I used that as an opportunity to stay in Lugano and train really solidly for three weeks. I really worked on my climbing and the other specific things that I do in my training. That went very well and I came into these races this month with quite a lot of confidence that things were going well and I was feeling strong.”
Also keen to test her legs in the Giro del Trentino is Tour de l'Aude winner Emma Pooley (Cervelo), who will be joined by teammates with a proven track record in the event.
Egon van Kessel, Cervélo TestTeam's director is looking to repeat the strong results from the team in last year's race. "Last year Carla Ryan was on the podium at the Giro del Trentino [she took second overall to Nicole Cooke - ed.], and the year before Claudia Häusler made the jump into the top three. We hope we can repeat these good results there. "
The HTC-Columbia squad will go into the event with the sting of Häusler's defeat of Judith Arndt in the Emakumeen Bira still fresh in their minds. Arndt returns with sprinter Ina Yoko Teutenberg, Adrie Visser, Noemi Cantele and Luise Keller.
Team Valdarno for Giro del Trentino: Tatiana Guderzo, Chiara Bortolus, Martina Corazza, Saneila Biagi and Laura Bozzolo
Great Britain for Giro del Trentino: Nicole Cooke, Emma Trott, Lucy Martin, Catherine Williamson, and Katie Colclough
Cervelo TestTeam for Giro del Trentino: Emilie Aubry, Lieselot Decroix, Claudia Häusler, Sharon Laws, Emma Pooley, Patricia Schwager