The 2012 edition of the Giro d’Italia Femminile, more commonly known as the Giro Donne, finished this past Saturday, 7 July. After nine tough days of racing across Italy, starting in Napoli in the south and finishing in Bergamo in the north, Marianne Vos won for a second year in successsion and I finished 10th overall.
A top ten finish on the general classification was my goal, and I’m happy I achieved my goal, even if only just!
I finished 17th overall in my first ever Giro in 2010 and 13th overall last year. Although the jump from 13th to 10th this year does not appear big on paper, in real life effort, it is huge! The commitment, physical and mental strength required to race day in and day out amongst the best in the world, is no easy feat, but I enjoy the challenge! I learnt many lessons during this year’s Giro and now I feel I have a better understanding of what takes to win an event of this nature.
This year’s Giro was quite different to past Giro’s. There weren’t any long, famous, mountain passes in this year’s event. The route was a more open route, with varied terrain and many shorter, power climbs. This meant that the racing was much more aggressive from start to finish.
This might sound strange, but when there is a 20km mountain pass awaiting in a day’s stage, the peloton rides less aggressively approaching the climb and all the action happens on the climb. This was not the case this year. Numerous attacks happened from start to finish everyday and this kind of racing definitely favoured the bigger teams.
Four South African’s accompanied me in the Lotto Belisol team this year. A sign that South African women’s cycling is on an all time high. Although as a team, we lacked stage-racing experience, all the girls showed great potential. We learnt a lot in the nine days of racing together and I’m convinced great things are to come for South African women’s cycling!
A win at the Giro, the most prestigious women’s stage race, is still a dream. I now have a better understanding of the steps necessary to achieve this goal and I will continue to dream big and make it happen!
Now the focus shifts to Olympics! Giro served as great preparation for the London Olympic Games. I’m feeling strong, confident and more excited than ever for the Olympic Road Race and Time Trial, which is less than three weeks away.
Thanks for all support and encouragement!
Full Giro d’Italia Femminile results here.
All photo’s courtesy of my Dad, Johan Moolman.