Lagazzettadellabici's Blog

Giro Donne – Stage 9 – STELVIO!!!!

Posted in "Emma Pooley", Mara Abbott, Pigeons by lagazzettadellabici on July 11, 2010

Oh, Stelvio!  It’s this huge, beautiful Alpine pass, the highest paved road in Italy, with 39 hairpin bends and views to die for.  It’s a beast of a climb, totally legendary among drivers and cyclists – where better to have the penultimate, definitive, stage of the Giro Donne?

In theory there was everything to play for in this stage – Mara Abbott, the super-climber from Team USA was only 19 seconds ahead of HTC’s Judith Arndt, 1’05” from World Champion Tatiana Guderzo, 1’38” from cycling genius Marianne Vos and 1’41” from last year’s winner Claudia Häusler.  But in reality, only Cervélo’s Emma Pooley can touch Mara in the mountains – and with Emma 6’22” down on GC, after various bits of bad luck, including crashing in Stage 2 and puncturing in Stage 7, it was pretty clear that barring some terrible luck of her own, Mara would end the day in the maglia rosa.

But there was still the stage to win – and with 2 “warm-up” climbs before they even hit the bottom of the Stelvio, this would be the toughest stage yet in a race that’s nothing if not hard.

The race started with 2 laps in Livigno, before hitting the climbs at Trepalle and Foscagno.  Pooley attacked on th climbs, to grab the remaining Mountains points (she’d started the day on equal points with Abbott, and wanted that green jersey, if not the stage) – but she was dropped on the descent out of Foscagno, and when the front group, with all the favourites, started the huge climb of the Stelvio, she was a few minutes back.

But this is Emma Pooley, and she is a huge climbing star.  With the help of team-mate Carla Ryan, she caught the group, and immediately attacked, taking off into the distance, with only Mara Abbott able to follow her.  Mara and Emms duelled all the way to the top, while behind them, Arndt and Guderzo fought hard for the 2nd place in the GC – until with 2km to go, Mara gave it her all and attacked one last time – and this time Emma couldn’t follow.

Mara solo-ed up to victory, and barring disasters on Stage 10, to win the overall race.  Arndt ended up in 3rd spot on the stage, with Guderzo only 7 seconds behind her (and that was a stallr performance from those two).  Vos ended up losing 7’44”, but she’s the first to admit she’s not a pure climber, and ended the day with the Points and the Best Young Rider jersey.

Stage 9 results
1. Mara Abbott (USA) Team USA
2. Emma Pooley (GBR) Cervélo, + 27″
3. Judith Arndt (GER) HTC, + 1’43”
4. Tatiana Guderzo (ITA) Valdarno, + 1’50”
5. Tatiana Antoshina (RUS) Valdarno, + 2’58”
6. Evgenya Vyotska (UKR) Valdarno, + 3’27”
7. Claudia Hausler (GER) Cervélo, + 3’38”
8. Edwige Pitel (FRA) SC Michela Fanini, + 5’55”
9. Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS) Safi Pasta Zara, + 7’14”
10. Marianne Vos (NED) Netherlands, + 7’44”

So one more stage to go – a sprint stage – and it’ll be hard and fast, with all those teams that haven’t won a stage taking this one last chance – and chapeau to all the sprinters who got over the mountains!  This isn’t one of those racers like the Giro or the Vuelta, where the sprinters drop out once they start going uphill! These girls are hardcore!

Barring disasters, the GC will end up the same as it is now

GC after Stage 9
1. Mara Abbott (USA) Team USA
2. Judith Arndt (GER) HTC, +2’08”
3. Tatiana Guderzo (ITA) Valdarno, + 3’05”
4. Claudia Hausler (GER) Cervélo, +5’29”
5. Emma Pooley (GBR) Cervélo, + 6’23”
6. Evgenya Vyotska (UKR) Valdarno, + 8’26”
7. Marianne Vos (NED) Netherlands, + 9’32”
8. Tatiana Antoshina (RUS) Valdarno, + 12’05”
9. Olga Zabelinskaya (RUS) Safi Pasta Zara, + 23’03”
10. Elena Berlato (ITA) Top Girls, + 25’47”

There’s a great profile of Mara Abbott here, by Cicloweb, who’ve been the best source of news for the whole race – and if you don’t beleive me that this is the most beautiful race out there, check out CJ Farquharson’s photos of the stage.  She takes the greatest photos of women’s racing (you’ll have seen them if you ever look at the women’s racing reports on the cycling websites, when they bother) – check out her site, and have the races come alive!

As ever, if you have any questions, you can ask me on twitter – and thanks again to Simon for blog-space – I appreciate it!


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