Never mind that its roster includes three current national champions and a handful of rainbow bands, Trek-Segafredo’s women’s cycling team has become a collective force since its inaugural 2019 season. On the eve of the 2020 Giro Rosa, the team is poised to make a strong showing, beginning with Friday’s opening stage, a 16.8-kilometer team time trial in Grossetto, Tuscany.
“We’re a really good team for the team time trial, so we’re really excited and focused on that,” Tayler Wiles told VeloNews.
The team has been in Grossetto since Monday, familiarizing itself with the pancake-flat course. Without many technical sections, save for a few roundabouts, the TTT will be a display of raw speed.
Nevertheless, physical prowess isn’t the only factor in winning a TTT.
“It’s about going absolutely flat out and not letting your team down,” Lizzie Deignan told VeloNews. “The most daunting aspect of a TTT is making sure you get back onto that line. I think we’ll start tomorrow at 50k/hour swinging off the line. If you miss that back wheel you’re in trouble. It’s not just about physical effort, it’s about getting all those tiny skills in line, as well.”
Physical effort, “tiny skills,” and being accountable to the team are all factors that have gelled quickly for the US-based Trek-Segafredo team. Last year, the team won its first Women’s World Tour TTT at Vårgårda. After the race, American national champion Ruth Winder attributed the win to both the individual experiences of each rider and the team’s confidence in one another.
At La Course in late August, Deignan’s victory was a result of every teammate’s efforts. In the final kilometers of the race, Elisa Longo Borghini stayed at the head of the lead group, forcing attacks from Vos and van Vleuten and keeping the pace high. In the end, Trek-Segafredo was the only team with two in the group, and it made the difference for Deignan.
While the coronavirus shutdown could have wreaked havoc on team cohesion, especially with European-based riders like Longo Borghini and Audrey Cordon-Ragot relegated to the indoors for months, Deignan says that the foundation was already laid.
“I already felt in February that we had that, everyone had clicked,” she said. “Everyone was pushing each other in training. If you’re in a training camp where everyone is giving 100 percent it brings the level higher.”
The Giro Rosa has kicked off with a team time trial for the previous three editions: Aquileia (2017), Verbania (2018), and Cassano Spinola (2019). Last year, Kasia Niewiadoma nabbed the pink jersey for CANYON//SRAM in the opening stage.
On Friday, the first team will start at 14:00 local time from the Piazza Dante Alighieri, followed by all the other teams at three-minute intervals. For Trek-Segafredo, the opening stage of the Giro Rosa presents a perfect opportunity to ride an impressive wave of momentum.
“We’ve been aggressive all year and it’s proven to be successful and we’ll probably keep that going,” Wiles said.