Giro Rosa: Abbott aims for third overall title while preparing for Rio Olympics

Mara Abbott (Wiggle High5) will return to the Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminile in an attempt to add a third overall title to her resume. The American, who was recently selected to the US team for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, says she is focused on finding success in both Italy and Brazil.

“It's hard for me to even think about the Olympics with the Giro coming in just a few days,” Abbott said in a team press release. “It is an incredible honour to be selected for Rio - I can't even really believe it still. But the Giro is why I am still a cyclist. I could be coy... but I absolutely love this race and the experiences it has already given me means the world to me.

“Basically, if I am allowed any caffeine between now and August my head might explode due to excitement!” she laughed.

USA Cycling announced the women’s road team for the Olympic Games to include automatic nominee Megan Guarnier and Abbott for the road race, and Evelyn Stevens and Kristin Armstrong for the road race and time trial.

But before Abbott can turn her attention to the Olympics, she will compete in the eleventh round of the Women’s WorldTour at the Giro Rosa. The 10-day event will start in Gaiarine, before travelling across the northern provinces of Italy, passing over the challenging Mortirolo during stage 5 and then to the Sanctuary of Madonna della Guardia in Alassio on the Ligurian coast on stage 8.

Abbott won the Giro Rosa in 2010 and 2013, and has won a total of six stages. Last year, she won the final mountain stage to San Domenico di Varza but it wasn’t enough to overtake overall winner Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv), and she finished second overall.

“All mountains are lovely,” she said. “That’s just their birthright.

“My dad bought a ticket just last week to come and see me race. That was the day before the Olympics [selection] and maybe just as exciting. I can't believe I get to share this with him.”

Abbott has shown good form this year. She won the Tour of the Gila (UCI 2.2), won the mountain stage at Pro Road Tour's Redlands Bicycle Classic and was second overall. She also won the mountains classification at Tour of California and Philadelphia International Cycling Classic, both events are of international ranks placed on the Women’s WorldTour.

She lines up with the help of a strong team that includes Giro Rosa stage winner Mayuko Hagiwara and top Italian Elisa Longo Borghini, who will go for stage wins and prepare for the Olympic Games. “I will be at the disposal of Mara for helping her to climb up to the GC top,” she said.

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling team for the Giro Rosa: Mara Abbott (United States), Giorgia Bronzini (Italy), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (France), Mayuko Hagiwara (Japan), Chloe Hosking (Australia), Elisa Longo Borghini (Italy)

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