Kristen Faulkner Wins Stage 1 of the Giro Donne

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How the Race Finished 

The first Maglia Rosa of the 2022 Giro Donne will be worn by Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange), after a blistering time-trial where she covered just under 5km in 5’45”, with an average speed of over 49 km/h. Team BikeExchange made it a 1-2, following up on their podium sweep in the time trial at the Tour de Suisse, with Faulkner’s teammate Georgia Baker coming in second, three seconds down. The world champion and newly-crowned Italian national champion, Elisa Balsamo, rounded out the podium, five seconds down.

The Main Action 

It was a short but intense start to the Giro Donne, with a 4.75km individual time trial, in Cagliari, Sardinia, running straight up and back along the coast. The long, straight roads, without much technical difficulty, were taken quickly, with fourteen riders doing the course in under six minutes. Although the roads were relatively protected by buildings, the wind was still a factor, visibly buffeting some of the riders.

Kristen Faulkner, like many of those who were targeting the time trial, set off early. She was in the hot seat for a long time, waiting to see if anyone could match her time, but no-one could. As the final rider came in, the American clapped her hands with joy; it’s her second victory of the year, consolidating her win in the time-trial of the Tour de Suisse – where she lost the GC to Lucinda Brand with an agonising last-minute fall, after clawing her way back up the final climb.

None of the GC favourites got themselves into a significant deficit. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar), just back from injury, and who’s set her goal as winning the Giro Donne, the Tour de France Femmes, and topping it off with the Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta, came in sixth, ten seconds down on Faulkner. Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), recent winner of the Women’s Tour, was a fraction faster than van Vleuten, coming in fifth. Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope), notably, after losing a lot of time in the opening team time-trial last year, managed to stay within touching distance today, as did Juliette Labous (Team DSM).

Results

The top ten was dominated by the big teams. Although the top two spots were occupied by Team BikeExchange, Trek-Segafredo managed four riders in the top ten: as well as Balsamo in third and Longo Borghini in fifth, they had Lucinda Brand in seventh, and the American Leah Thomas in ninth. Jumbo-Visma had two in the top ten, with Riejanne Markus, recent Dutch road champion, in eighth and Anouska Koster, the 2016 Dutch road champion, in tenth. SD Worx’ sole representative in the top ten was Lotte Kopecky in fourth; the team has said that they’re focusing on stage-wins, not the general classification. 

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