Boels-Dolmans took a commanding victory on the Giro Rosa's opening stage team time trial in Aquileia on Friday night. With defending champion Megan Guarnier in its ranks, the Dutch-registered squad was the last team to roll down from the start ramp and the only team to break the 15-minute barrier. Newly crowned Canadian time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel led her teammates across the finish with a time of 14:47 and will wear the 28th edition of the Giro Rosa's first maglia rosa.
"We talked about it beforehand, and everyone said they were okay with me crossing the line first," Canuel told Cyclingnews. "It was really special to pull on the pink jersey."
The special moment was compounded by unnecessary last-minute stress. Canuel flew to Italy via Air Canada on Tuesday evening, four hours after winning her second Canadian time trial title. She landed on Wednesday morning without her time trial bike. For two days, no one could tell her where her Specialized Shiv was and when she might be reunited with it.
"That was really stressful," she said. "It wasn't until 12 O'clock today that it showed up."
The victory for Canuel and her teammates is an unsurprising one. Boels-Dolmans won a gold medal in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships last October, capping off a season that included a win in every collective race against the clock. The squad also won the Healthy Ageing Tour team time trial in April, the only TTT they've raced this season.
Team Sunweb proved best of the rest, stopping the clock at 15:03, 16 seconds slower than Boels-Dolmans. Orica-Scott were a further six seconds afield in third place at 22 seconds. Wiggle-High5 and Canyon//SRAM rounded out the top-five with Kasia Niewiadoma's WM3 Energie team in sixth place at 37 seconds.
"We were hoping to win, but we weren't expecting to win by such a big margin," Boels-Dolmans' sport director Danny Stam told Cyclingnews. "I didn't think we could get more than 10 seconds."
While the margins are not large, they offer the first sorting of the overall contenders with Guarnier and Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) the obvious winners. Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) have the smallest gaps to close. Niewiadoma's losses, while larger, are limited compared to what they could have been. Ashleigh Moolman Paiso's Cérvelo-Bigla squad, in ninth place at 52-seconds, undoubtedly had bigger ambitions.
The team time trial was neither technical nor complicated by changing conditions throughout the afternoon. The route included only a few corners and finished in a market square with restaurants on either end. While clouds moved in during the second half of the race, the rain held off until the race had finished.
"It started raining when we were on the podium," said Canuel. "I think the wind and rain will pick up in the night."
The Giro Rosa continues on Saturday with a 122-kilometre stage between Zoppola and Montreal Valcellina.
"The last 40-kilometres include a pretty hard climb," said Stam. "I think it will be a hectic final."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam||0:14:47|
|6||WM3 Pro Cycling||0:00:37|
|7||Astana Womens Team||0:00:51|
|8||Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling||0:00:52|
|9||Lensworld - Kuota||0:01:04|
|10||FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope||0:01:06|
|11||Team VéloCONCEPT Women||0:01:08|
|12||BTC City Ljubljana||0:01:21|
|13||Cylance Pro Cycling||0:01:24|
|17||Lares-Waowdeals Women Cycling team||0:01:44|
|20||Top Girls Fassa Bortolo||0:02:09|
|23||S.C. Michela Fanini Rox||0:02:50|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team||0:14:47|
|2||Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team|
|3||Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team|
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