Copyright: TDWSport.com

For the first time in history ORICA-SCOTT women will challenge for general classification success at this year’s women’s Giro Rosa which begins on Friday.

The 10-day iconic Italian tour is a key target for the Australian outfit this season as they bring in a well-rounded and prepared squad.

In the past the team has focussed on stage victories however this year the balanced team is ready to step up a level and challenge for the overall victory.

“The women’s Giro is undoubtedly the most prestigious tour on the WorldTour calendar,” sport director Gene Bates said. “This year we have tried putting together the best team possible to target the overall classification and see how we go in that area.”

“It is new territory for some of our riders as it is not something we have targeted before. It’s exciting as it will be a new challenge.”

Newly crowned Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleutenwill lead the team’s general classification hopes and will be joined by Australian champion Katrin Garfoot and Santos Tour Down Under winner Amanda Spratt.

With the event being an important goal, the team has taken time to plan and prepare for the race as much as possible, riding key stages so that nothing is left unknown.

“We have identified the critical stages, so the riders know the course and we will go in with as much information as possible,” Bates continued.

“I think we have a really great team and the riders are all in good condition. It’s exciting heading to the race because it’s been a target in our minds all year.”

Recent OVO Women’s Tour stage winner Sarah Roy will provide the team with sprint power and the team is boosted with support from youngsters Jenelle Crooks, Alex Manly and Kiwi Georgia Williams who rounds up the seven rider strong team.

“Personally, this year’s Giro-Rosa is extremely exciting for me as ORICA-SCOTT are going in with very clear and realistic general classification goals,” Roy said.

“We are heading into the tour with an incredibly strong and motivated team who have prepared specifically both on and off the bike for a GC result.

“We are all refreshed and ready for a big tour. I am really looking forward to supporting our leaders especially because I truly believe in them and our team plan. I’m also pleased with my current form and I’m confident it will carry on into the Giro Rosa.”

This year’s 28th edition of the Italian tour is longer than recent editions and includes a mixture of stages from a team time trial, hilly stages plus an individual time trial, however, it does lack an iconic mountain such as the Stelvio or Mortirolo climbs which have been featured in the past.

“I think the course is great this year,” continued Roy. “Lacking iconic mountains will probably allow for more exciting racing.”

“The general classification will become clearer as the tour goes on, as expected, but also because the backend of the tour is where most of the climbing will happen. The stages get longer, requiring the riders to back up each day while being fatigued, so that’s when things will really split up.

“I have actually never completed the Giro Rosa myself as I raced half of it in 2015 before leaving to prepare for Thuringen-Rhundfahrt. Tactically I think things will be especially exciting this year.”

The race opens up with an 11.5kilometre team time trial on Friday 30th June, followed by nine road stages. With a variety of mountainous and sprint stages it is set to be a challenging and eventful race.

ORICA-SCOTT riders for Giro Rosa:

Jenelle Crooks – (AUS 22)
Katrin Garfoot – (AUS 35)
Alexandra Manly – (AUS 21)
Sarah Roy – (AUS 31)
Amanda Spratt – (AUS 29)
Annemeik van Vleuten – (NED 34)
Georgia Williams – (NZL 23)

Giro Rosa stages 30th June – 9th July:

Friday, 30th June: Stage 1, Aquileia – Grado, team time trial
Saturday, 1st July: Stage 2, Zoppola – Montereale Valcellina
Sunday, 2nd July: Stage 3, San Fior – San Vendemiano
Monday, 3rd July: Stage 4, Occhiobello – Occhiobello
Tuesday, 4th July: Stage 5, Sant’Elpidio a Mare – Sant’Elpidio a Mare
Wednesday, 5th July: Stage 6, Roseto Degli Abruzzi – Roseto Degli Abruzzi
Thursday, 6th July: Stage 7, Isernia – Baronissi
Friday, 7th July: Stage 8, Baronissi – Centola fraz Palinuro
Saturday, 8th July: Stage 9, Centola fraz Palinuro – Polla
Sunday, 10th July: Stage 10, Torre del Greco – Torre del Greco