Carlee Taylor hoping for a strong Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminilie

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Carlee Taylor hoping for a strong Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminilie

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By James Finch-Penninger @FishysCP

BrakeDown Podcast founder

brakedownpodcast.weebly.com

The Giro d’Italia Internazionale Femminilie, better known as the Giro Rosa, gets underway tonight Australian time with a prologue time trial in Gaiarine. That will be followed by nine gruelling stages of racing over some of the most storied climbs and terrain in Italian cycling. Ahead of the race, Peloton Cafe chatted to Australian Carlee Taylor (Liv-Plantur) ahead of what will be her sixth appearance in the ‘Grand Tour’ of the womens season.
“I think the Giro Rosa is actually my favourite race of the whole year,” said Taylor. “It was my first race coming out of the juniors when I was 18 or 19 years old. This is our Grand Tour, so it’s one I focus on with my training and with my form so hopefully it’s going to be a good ten days coming up.”
“Last week I had the Aviva Women’s Tour and that was actually one of the hardest tours that I’ve done. For me, I respond better with more racing so that helped me finetune my form heading into this week. I think I’ve got some good form at the moment so hopefully I can have a good tour.”

 

The Liv-Plantur team doesn’t have the luxury of signing the biggest names of the sport, with the likes of Boels-Dolmans, Rabobank-Liv and Wiggle-High 5 attracting the top talent for the most part. Instead of going head to head with their bigger rivals in the battle for the overall win, the team is planning to pick its battles strategically.
“We’re not going for GC here, were looking for stage wins. Leah Kirchmann has had a standout year and there’s going to be some good stages for her. There are also going to be some hillier days where I’m going to try and be more present. Last year I was in the climber’s jersey for a bit, it wasn’t what I went into the tour aiming for, it just worked out that way. We’ll just be taking it day by day, taking the opportunities when we can.”
The days in the mountains are some of the toughest that you will see on any parcours with the climb of the Mortirolo (12.5 kilometres, 10.5%) renowned as one of the harder climbs in Europe and certain to be a focal point of attacks by the big general classification riders. But as Taylor explains, even the seemingly benign days have the potential for unexpected moves, difficulties and crashes.
“Stage 5 and 6 are the hardest when you look at the profiles, but like any Italian race you can’t trust that. Actually the third stage last year is the one where I went over the cliff (she was surprisingly fine despite the dramatic footage), it looks like a flat stage but it is actually quite hard. So I think even the early days are a opportunity for the race to split up. After the queen stage (Stage 6) it’s always more likely that breaks can get up the road if people have lost time. I think the second half of the Tour is the hardest part, but early on there are still those opportunities for breaks to go away.”
There are a number of top-tier candidates for the overall win on the startline and most eyes will be on the traditional powerhouse teams within the sport to find the eventual winner. Boels-Dolmans have had a stellar season, particularly dominating the World Tour level racing. They will have world champion Lizzie Armitstead, Megan Guarnier and Evelyn Stevens all in with a shot at the victory but will have to fight off challenges from the likes of local champ Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High 5) and youngster Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv). Defending champion Anna van der Breggen has been a bit quieter this season, perhaps odd to say when she’s won the Fleche Wallonne, but it is a reflection of just how good her previous seasons have been. Taylor gave her insight when asked who she thought would be in contention for the win.
“She (Anna van der Breggen) is a world class bike rider and she used the Aviva Women’s Tour as a form-finder, which was obvious because she was getting bidons. You never see her going back to the car to get bidons if she’s treating the race seriously. So definitely she’s one to watch. I think Megan Guarnier will be the one to beat, she’s had probably the best year she’s ever had and just recently she’s won the Tour of California and the (USA) nationals. She’s on good form and is clearly one to watch. Also, you can’t forget the Italians, with Elisa Longo Borghini always good in Italy.”
“You are missing some of the other top teams, like Orica-AIS and Cervelo-Bigla. With the teams smaller this year with only six riders apiece, it will make the race a lot harder to control and maybe give the opportunity for the breakaways to have a chance to stay away. I think it will be a bit different tour from the past and not an easy one for sure.”
The timing of the Giro Rosa has been a vexed point for a number of years, falling as it does during the Tour de France, which sees it publicity swamped by the massive spectacle in France. Nonetheless, for those who really love the sport it is a great opportunity to see some of the best riders in the world go head to head at the peak of their form over some of the hardest terrain the peloton will tackle all season. Taylor explained why she loves the race so much.
“Any race in Italy is always big, cycling in Italy is massive. You go over some of the iconic climbs of the region, so people can relate to that as they know what climb that is and just how hard it is. On the side of the roads there’s always a lot of kids and the local community out watching and cheering you on. This is our one Grand Tour of the year and everyone knows that and how hard it is. Everyone knows the prestige that comes with it as well, that’s why it is such a great race.”

Overnight Carlees teammate Leah Kirchmann won the opening Prologue, taking the race lead with it.

By James Finch-Penninger @FishysCP

BrakeDown Podcast founder

brakedownpodcast.weebly.com

 

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