By VeloNews Interactive

Even a brief visit to one of the women’s grand tours in Europe will leave even the most casual observer asking questions about equal treatment. The hotels are cheaper, the press coverage infrequent and the transfers often border on the ridiculous, sometimes up to 200km. But at least one front, this year’s edition of the Giro d’Italia femminile – the “Girodonne” – has achieved a degree of equity: the Italian drug police raided the hotels on Wednesday night.

In a move reminiscent of this year’s men’s Giro d’Italia, the Italian anti-drug police, swooped in and searched the rooms and processions of all of the riders in the women’s national Tour of Italy. Unlike the men, however, the women went on to ride the next day.

Swiss rider Nicole Brandli won her first important race of her career in Nevegal, winning the tenth stage of the Girodonne. The 22 year-old Edilsavino rider beat Rosalisa La Pomarda and race leader Zinaida Stahurskaia after the three broke away in the final 5 kilometers of the stage.

The final climb to the finish created a battle between the first three riders in the overall classification, which finished in a sprint.

“The finish was similar to yesterday’s stage,” Brandli said. “When the road started to climb we dropped the bunch. Fortunately I managed to win the sprint today and so take my first big win of my career. I think I deserved this win and gave it everything to get it.”

The stage was cheered by huge crowds in the mountains and helped calm the riders after the disturbing police raids of Wednesday night by the Italian anti-doping police.

After a surprise early break by Fabiana Luperini -who opened a gap of 2:20, the stage was decided on the final climb. Rosalisa La Pomarda deserves a special mention after her two second places in two days. She again showed huge courage and is a name for the future.Race leader Zinaida Stahurskaia was obviously pleased to stay in the pink jersey. She also put more time into her rivals Ziliute and Cappellotto before the decisive time trial on Sunday from Cornuda to Valdobbiadene.

“The final stage is my only real worry now,” she said. “Even if I can’t forget the finish to Paularo, especially if there’s bad weather like today.”

Tomorrow the Girodonne arrives in the Fruili region with the start and finish of the stage in Paularo. It is a difficult stage with a KOM sprint at 1010m at Ligosullo with just 8km from the finish. The stage starts at 12:00 and will finish at approximately at 2:40 after 89.5km of racing.


VeloNews technical editor Charles Pelkey contributed to this report.


Result stage 10: Trento-Belluno Loc. Nevegal>
1. Nicole Brandli (Sui),G.S. Edilsavino, 131 km in 3h52:41; avg 33.780 km/h; 2. Rosalisa La Lapomarda (I), Rosa dei Venti, s.t.; 3. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr),Gas Soprt Team, s.t.; 4.Diana Ziliute (Ltu), Acca Due O – H.P.Lorena, a 1:12; 5. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino Anusca, at 1:15; 6. Mirjam Melchers (Nl), Acca Due O – H.P.Lorena, a 1:18; 7. Alessandra Cappellotto
(I), Gas Sport Team, at 1:37; 8.Olga Zabeliskaja (Rus), Carpe Diem Itera, at 1:51; 9. Susanne Ljungskog (Swe),Vlaanderen T. Interim, at
2:04; 10. Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu), Alfa Lum Aurora, s.t.

Overall Classification

1. Zinaida Stahurskaia (Blr), Gas Sport Team, 1207.5 km in 33:06:31; avg 36.542 km/h; 2. Nicole Brandli (Sui), Edilsavino Anusca, at 20; 3. Rosalisa La Pomarda (I), Rosa dei Venti, at 58; 4. Alessandra Cappellotto (I), Gas Sport Team, at 3:04; 5. Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu), Alfa Lum Aurora, at 4:30; 6. Fabiana Luperini (I), Edilsavino Anusca, at 4:32; 7. Diana Ziliute (Ltu), Accadueo Lorena, at 5:05; 8. Joane Somarriba (Esp), Alfa Lum Aurora, at 6:54; 9. Cindy Pieters (Bel), Vlaanderen T.Interim, at 9:00; 10. Simona Parente (I), Edilsavino Anusca, at 10:30.