As anticipated, Boels-Dolmans won the Giro Rosa’s stage 1 team time trial Friday in Grado, Italy. With the victory, Canadian Karol-ann Canuel took the overall lead in the 10-stage race.
The powerhouse Dutch team put 16 seconds into second-place finisher Sunweb. Orica-Scott was third, 22 seconds behind in the 11.5km test.
Canuel recently won the Canadian national time trial title. Plus, Boels is the reigning world champion in the team time trial discipline. They finished in 14:47 on a course that was primarily headwind with a technical finish.
“We talked about it beforehand, and everyone said they were okay with me crossing the line first,” said Canuel. “It was really special to pull on the pink jersey.”
It was not all easy for Canuel, however. Although she arrived in Europe Wednesday, her bike was lost in transit. She didn’t have her TT bike in hand until midday Friday. “That was really stressful,” she added. “It wasn’t until 12 o’clock today that it showed up.”
“Today was a big surprise to come second,” said Sunweb coach Adrian Helmantel. “As the last two kilometers became more technical we made a clear plan that we would go forward with five [out of seven] girls. Everything went smoothly there and the team powered onto the finish.”
The race continues Saturday with stage 2, a 122.3km race from Zoppola to Mantereale Valcellina. The race includes one categorized climb, but a flat run to the finish should favor sprinters, such as Sunweb’s American star Coryn Rivera.
“It will be a hard stage. The last 40 kilometers include a pretty hard climb,” said Boels director Danny Stam. “I think it will be a hectic final. I think everyone’s head is in a good way after today. We’re actually really looking forward to tomorrow’s stage.”
Top 10, stage 1
1. Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team, 00:14:47
2. Team Sunweb, 00:15:03
3. Orica – Scott, 00:15:09
4. Wiggle High5, 00:15:11
5. Canyon SRAM Racing, 00:15:23
6. WM3 Energie, 00:15:24
7. Astana Womens Team, 00:15:38
8. Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling, 00:15:39
9. Lensworld – Kuota, 00:15:51
10. FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, 00:15:53