With two stage wins and as many podium places, Team SD Worx experienced a very successful Giro Donne. Over the course of the race, the riders in the team all rose to the challenge to shine. Lorena Wiebes won a bunch sprint and showed she has also made huge strides in climbing. Niamh Fisher-Black finished third in the queen stage. Blanka Vas recorded a breakthrough win in Italy and Anna Shackley showed she is back after months of injury.
“This was a very nice Giro Donne for us. The goals we set beforehand were all achieved,” said sport director Anna van der Breggen.
Team SD Worx travelled to Italy with a young squad with an average age of 25.4 years, yet this youthfulness proved no problem in fulfilling the team’s ambitions.
“It was a successful Giro Donne,” Anna van der Breggen added. “Our riders were in good shape and already in the second stage, we could immediately rejoice with a decisive sprint victory for Lorena Wiebes after a fine lead-out by Barbara Guarischi. How Lorena then came second in the tricky stage to Canelli was downright impressive. She proved she can come out on top with the best climbers on certain slopes. How she rode everyone off the wheel on the final climb opens up prospects for what is to come with the Tour de France Femmes and the World Cup in Glasgow.”
With Blanka Vas, Team SD Worx achieved a second victory in Italy. Van der Breggen said proudly, “I think this is the best win of her career. The absence of Wiebes allowed the other girls to seize an opportunity to go for their own chance. Blanka did that fantastically. It was impressive how she put the best sprinters on top after a tough stage. If you can still do that after such a tough hilly stage, then the form is good and it is a signal that she will be able to handle even more in the future.”
Over and above the stage wins, Anna van der Breggen also recognised other high points from the team’s performance in the Giro Donne. “Niamh Fisher-Black showed resilience. She was eager to go for a good final ranking, but in the second stage she had a bad day and that’s where the classification was already largely determined. Niamh immediately lost three minutes, but fought back. In the queen stage, she finished third and in our wins she played an important role. She herself might have hoped for more than ninth place in the general classification, but for that you just have to be more consistent.”
Anna Shackley finished third best youngster in the general classification after months of injury. The Volta Limburg classic in April was her last race. Van der Breggen: concluded, “Anna was out of competition for a long time with knee problems. We are happy with her performance at the Giro Donne. We leave Italy with a satisfied feeling.”