Sunday it's finally time, then the women will ride La Course! This race is organized by ASO, just like the Tour de France. Before the men will ride the last Tour kilometers of this edition on the famous avenue in Paris, the ladies will battle on the Champs Elysées for the first victory of La Course.
Jolien D'hoore: "I think everyone is really looking forward to Sunday. It's the first time this race takes place, a milestone for women's cycling. We start with teams of six riders and I'm glad I'm one of them. I'm proud to show the Belgian national jersey in Paris. I expect there will be many people along the road. There will be so much more media attention than we are used to and the race will be broadcasted live. That's all new for us. It's exciting."
"I expect that it will be fast from the start. It will be a tough race. Everyone will want to show that women can race as well. We definitely have to try to get into top five, maybe even top three. I think everybody wants to stand on that podium on the Champs Elysées. I certainly hope there is more to come, next year maybe a stage race of one week or longer. This is a step in the right direction."
Selection Lotto Belisol Ladies: Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Chantal Hoffmann, Emma Pooley and Anisha Vekemans.
She did it again! Emma Pooley took her third stage win in the Giro Rosa 2014. She finished solo at Madonna del Ghisallo, another summit finish. Her efforts of the past week also yielded her the green jersey, as winner of the mountain classification. In GC she became 9th at 8'23" of pink jersey Marianne Vos.
Team time trial in the stage
Attack on the final climb
It was fun
"Taking this green jersey is really great for the team, to be on that final podium. It's a big honour. I'm very pleased with that. I feel like we earned it after all the hard work. I had such great support of the team, they really believed in me."
This afternoon Emma Pooley won the eighth stage of the Giro Rosa. Here second stage win this week. There was a summit finish in San Domenico di Varzo. Pooley arrived five seconds before Mara Abbott, last year's winner of the Giro Rosa. Thanks to this victory Pooley keeps the lead in the mountain classification.
Emma Pooley: "There was a very sharp climb early in the stage, even with cobbles. With the team we stayed in the front, because it was going very fast and there were lots of attacks. The road went up and down the whole time. Jolien D'hoore, Liesbet De Vocht and Sarah Rijkes looked after me. Afterwards the race got less hectic and we came on a terrain that was rather flat. My teammates took me to the front before the climb towards the finish."
"I didn't start with the idea I could win the stage, my main goal was to keep the green jersey. I knew who to watch. When we started the climb I waited, tried to conserve energy and be relaxed. I benefited a bit from the GC tactics. I stayed in the wheels of those going for GC. In the end I was alone in front with Mara Abbott, who won the Giro Rosa last year. Then I started raising the tempo, because I wanted to make her tired. At that point I wanted to win the stage, certainly after all the work the girls did for me."
"I didn't really attack I just rode harder. It wasn't a sprint at the end, just by raising the pace I apparently had created a gap. I didn't even put my hands in the air, because I was sure she was coming so I didn't have time for that. This victory is really nice for me and the team. Tomorrow it's another mountain top finish. At the Madonna del Ghisallo this time, a famous climb. We'll give it all again tomorrow."
After yesterday's stage win, Emma Pooley took over the mountains jersey today from Valentina Scandolara. Between Aprica and Chiavenna lay one climb, about seven kilometers after the start. Emma crossed the top first and gained seven points. The British leads with five points on Scandolara, who didn't grab any points today.
Emma Pooley: "To wear any of the classification jerseys at the Giro is a great honour, and the green jersey is particularly close to my heart as a climber! I have to say, I wasn't expecting it this year, I was worried that I'd lost my climbing legs altogether... But it's a lovely surprise, thanks to yesterday's stage and getting the GPM today! And it certainly wouldn't be possible without the support and backup of the team. I'm very grateful to my teammates and the staff too, for encouraging me and believing in me. The green jersey is for all of them!"
In the Giro Rosa a mountain stage was programmed today. Between Gaiarine and San Fior lay three climbs, on a course of 112 kilometers. Emma Pooley attacked on the first climb and could celebrate at the end.
On the Muro di Ca' del Poggio (2nd category) Emma Pooley was the first to attack. Six others joined her. Together they crossed the climb of fourth category in the middle of the course. The last climb on the route was the Salita dei Carbonai (1st category). Pooley attacked again. The peloton with pink jersey Marianne Vos followed at two minutes.
Pooley reached the top alone. Then there were 27.7 kilometers left, mostly descending. The Polish rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma was her nearest chaser, she would get caught by a group with Marianne Vos. Pooley, current British time trial champion, could hold them off and crossed the finish line solo. Fifteen seconds later Anna van der Breggen got second, before Marianne Vos. In the general classification Pooley jumps to place thirteen, at 8'35" of leader Vos.
Nothing to lose
"The girls put me in the right position for the first climb, that was a really steep one. They did a great job, looking after me. After my first attack I was about 25 kilometers alone, then I was caught by a group. Then I was alone again for the last forty kilometers. It was hard. Rabo Liv Giant chased, because they wanted to win the stage as well. I thought they would catch me for sure. I had two minutes at first, then suddenly 1'20" and then the gap was reducing very quickly. With two kilometers to go I had about nineteen seconds. I really wanted to do it for the other girls, because they really believed in me. Also our team manager Dany Schoonbaert, who was in the car behind me. I didn't want to let anyone down. It's because of all their support this was possible."
Top sprinters André Greipel and Marcel Kittel don't only clash on the bike...: http://youtu.be/VXk_59Y2tMM
Tomorrow the 25th edition of the Giro Rosa starts with a prologue of 2,050 kilometers in Caserta. These are the eight Lotto Belisol Ladies who will participate in the ten-day stage race: Jolen D'hoore, Heidi Dalton, Liesbet De Vocht, Lieselot Decroix, Chantal Hoffmann, Emma Pooley, Sarah Rijkes en Anisha Vekemans. First, new Belgian champion Jolien D'hoore looks back on Sunday's race and then she tells about her expectations for the Giro Rosa. Manager Dany Schoonbaert talks about the ambitions of the team. Also Emma Pooley, who just conquered the British time trial title, gives her preview of the Giro Rosa.
Party is for later this month
Thanks to Liesbet
Now to the Giro Rosa
We aim for a stage win
"For the young girls in the team the Giro Rosa is all about learning. Heidi Dalton for example did it very well in Bira, but that's a much shorter stage race. The Giro Rosa will be a tough race, like always. In Italy it's never completely flat to start with. Marianne Vos and her team are of course strong. Elisa Longo Borghini and Ashleigh Moolman will also ride for a good GC. Just like Mara Abbott, who won last year. Apart from them there are several other candidates for top ten."
Most prestigious stage race for women
Party is for later this month
Photos: Krist Vanmelle
Last week a selection of the Lotto Belisol Ladies took part in the Langenlois Cycling Days in Austria, the home country of Sarah Rijkes. She became ninth in the overall classification, after among other a sixth place in the short hill race on Saturday. The ideal occasion to get to know Sarah better, for whom it's the first season with the Lotto Belisol Ladies.
Langenlois Cycling Days
Good feeling in the Lotto Belisol Ladies team