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During last year’s edition of the Giro Rosa, Trek-Segafredo came roaring out of the gates with a win at the opening team time trial.
Then, its riders worked to usher hometown hero Elisa Longo Borghini onto the top step of the podium in stage eight and to her 3rd place finish overall.
Can the American squad do even more in 2021?
“It was a bold performance, but we want to look further,” said team director and 13-time Giro Rosa stage winner Ina-Yoko Teutenberg. “We want to do better. We’re well aware that we will have many eyes on us and that the competition will be strong, especially Anna van der Breggen, the most experienced and strongest contender. The proximity to the Olympics may be a factor for the condition of all riders, but I think all the top riders will have enough good form to still be very competitive.”
Unlike squads like Movistar and Canyon-SRAM whose top GC contenders are sitting out this year’s Italian stage race to focus on their Olympic ambitions, Trek-Segafredo is traveling to Italy with its all-star team intact.
The roster includes newly-minted double national champion Longo Borghini, as well as Lizzie Deignan, Lucinda Brand, Ellen van Dijk, and Americans Tayler Wiles and Ruth Winder.
“It’s the best team we could have chosen,” said eight-time stage winner and team director Giorgia Bronzini. “In the last races we’ve seen the riders in good shape, some already in top form while others are still improving. We have a GC leader in Elisa to protect and then several stages that are well suited to our characteristics. We’ll try to start with the wind in our sails, like last year.”
The parcours of this year’s Giro is varied, giving more riders more options and opportunities.
After the opening time trial, stage two sees a tough summit finish at Prato Nevoso, which could give a shake to the GC. What follows are a mixed stage, a hilly time trial and alternating mixed and sprinter stages. The penultimate Queen’s Stage will finish on Monte Matajur and will likely decide the overall podium finishers.
While all eyes will be on superteam SD Worx and its reigning Giro champ Anna van der Breggen, Trek-Segafredo has become known for its careful calculation and excellent execution of team tactics during its short tenure in the women’s WorldTour. According to Bronzini, this year’s roles for the Giro are well-defined.
Did you really think our women's team was going to be outdone by the men's?
— Lidl-Trek (@LidlTrek) June 29, 2021
“Elisa will be our point of reference for the overall classification, the pivot around which the team will act,” Bronzini said. “Lucinda, who possess something extra at a tactical level, will have the role of road captain; she and Lizzie will be our cards to play in the mixed stages.
“Ruth will be the joker, the rider who can disrupt the plans and play her chances in the breakaway thanks to her speed. Tayler will be our super domestique with her experience and resilience. Last but not least Ellen who, after a strong performance at Lotto Belgium Tour, will be precious, both as a support and competitive in certain finishes.”
Next week, one of these women in blue just might switch to pink.