Boels-Dolmans took a commanding victory on the Giro Rosa‘s opening stage team time trial in Aquileia on Friday night. With defending champion Megan Guarnier in its ranks, the Dutch-registered squad was the last team to roll down from the start ramp and the only team to break the 15-minute barrier. Newly crowned Canadian time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel led her teammates across the finish with a time of 14:47 and will wear the 28th edition of the Giro Rosa’s first maglia rosa.
“We talked about it beforehand, and everyone said they were okay with me crossing the line first,” Canuel told Cyclingnews. “It was really special to pull on the pink jersey.”
The special moment was compounded by unnecessary last-minute stress. Canuel flew to Italy via Air Canada on Tuesday evening, four hours after winning her second Canadian time trial title. She landed on Wednesday morning without her time trial bike. For two days, no one could tell her where her Specialized Shiv was and when she might be reunited with it.
“That was really stressful,” she said. “It wasn’t until 12 O’clock today that it showed up.”
The victory for Canuel and her teammates is an unsurprising one. Boels-Dolmans won a gold medal in the team time trial at the UCI Road World Championships last October, capping off a season that included a win in every collective race against the clock. The squad also won the Healthy Ageing Tour team time trial in April, the only TTT they’ve raced this season.
Team Sunweb proved best of the rest, stopping the clock at 15:03, 16 seconds slower than Boels-Dolmans. Orica-Scott were a further six seconds afield in third place at 22 seconds. Wiggle-High5 and Canyon//SRAM rounded out the top-five with Kasia Niewiadoma’s WM3 Energie team in sixth place at 37 seconds.
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