Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans) has considered her chance of being the next American to win the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile after a stellar performance at the Tour of California Women's Race where she won stage 2's summit finish atop Mt. Baldy. The Italian 10-day race held from July 5-14 will mark the focal point of her season.
"I want to give it another try because I've raced it one time and I was new, it kicked my ass," Hall told Cyclingnews. "Now, with a little more experience and strength, I need to just go for it."
Hall's Boels Dolmans teammate and two-time Giro Rosa winner Anna van der Breggen has also announced she will return to the event. She won the overall title in the 2015 and 2017 but did not race last year, instead opting to focus on one-day races to prepare for the World Championships in Innsbruck.
Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) won the 2018 edition of the Giro Rosa ahead of Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (now CCC-Liv) and Amanda Spratt (also Mitchelton-Scott).
The year's Giro Rosa route will be one of the toughest in recent history. It will feature summit finishes on the Passo di Gavia and at Malga Montasio, while there will also be a tough hilltop finale to the concluding stage in Udine.
Van der Breggen wrote on her website that she has stayed in Utah following her overall win at the Tour of California to train at altitude with her teammates Chantal Blaak and Karol Ann Canuel in preparation for the second half of the season, which includes the Giro Rosa.
"We travelled to Park City for that," she wrote. "Here we can discover new ways, enjoy some peace and prepare for the second part of the season. It includes the European Games, Dutch championships and the Giro Rosa, among other things."
Hall told Cyclingnews that Boels Dolmans would be sending one of the strongest teams in recent editions of the Giro Rosa to give them the best possible chance of winning the overall title.
The team's full roster for the Giro Rosa has not been announced but Hall and Van der Breggen, both world-class climbers, will be racing and they proved their ability to work together as teammates for a common goal at the Tour of California Women's Race. In California, Van der Breggen won stage 1 and the overall title, and Hall won stage 2 and placed second overall.
"[Giro Rosa] will be really hard, but we will have a really good team for it, and it will be a fun and hard race," Hall said. "I feel really happy to have Anna as my teammate and not my competitor. She is really strong. Having her as a teammate gives me some opportunities, too, and options to win as a team when you are racing with her and not against her."
Hall last raced the Giro Rosa in her first season as a professional with the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team in 2014. She placed 67th and over one hour down in the overall classification. In the last five season, however, she has become one of the strongest climbers in the peloton, proving as much with her stage 2 victory on Mt. Baldy at the Tour of California. She also won the overall title at the Tour of California last year.
After spending five seasons primarily racing in the US, Hall made the move to Boels Dolmans for 2019, a team the provides her with the opportunity to compete in some of the most historical races across Europe. She started her season at the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, and then raced Trofeo Alfredo Binda and the Ardennes Classics. The Giro Rosa will be her first major stage race, part of the Women's WorldTour, in Europe.
Hall's compatriot Mara Abbott was the first American to win the overall title at the Giro Rosa in 2010, and she followed that success with a second overall victory in the 2013 edition. Three years later, Megan Guarnier also won the Giro Rosa while racing for Boels Dolmans.
Hall told Cyclingnews that she believes she's capable of becoming the next American to accomplish such a feat, but that the stars would have to align in her favour to win the overall title this year. Whether she accomplishes success at the Giro Rosa this year, or in future, remains to be seen.
"I'm close to it," Hall said. "But everything would have to go right for me to win the Giro Rosa - I'm not far off."
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