I can't believe this race is over - it's had so much drama - from the lows of the crashes (get well soon Rochelle Gilmore, Grace Verbeke and all the riders injured out - and to Marijn de Vries & anyone out sick) and the news of the death of Australian cyclist Carly Hibberd - to the highs, of the fantastic racing on an incredible course. But after ten days, it all ended today, with a 16km time trial in San Francesco al Campo. Monty gave us all the profile information in his preview - so how did it play out?
HTC-Highroad's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg has had a great Giro. She was 3rd in Stage 5 & 6, 2nd in stage 1, and won stage 4 - and then when the roads went uphill, was in a super-long breakaway that lasted nearly all the way up the mountain of stage 8 - and tried to get in another breakaway on yesterday's stage - and this from a sprinter, who no one would blame for sitting in the grupetto all day! So after a race like that, how do you round off your Giro? By winning the final ITT, of course!
And of course, today was the coronation of Marianne Vos as reigning queen of this year's Giro Donne. Here's a NOS report from the final stage - in Dutch, with interview and lots of ITT action. Look out for how Vos takes the final sleeping policeman - and bear in mind she'd punctured at 5km to go....
And here's the full video from today's stage. More information below - and I'll edit in more as we find it
The ITT was just 16km long - but with some extra drama from a sleeping policeman right at the end, which must have added a certain frisson to the ride! Watch the full video for all the ITT action, but huge congratulations also to Emma Johansson (Hitec Products UCK) who came 2nd behind Teute. Johansson has only ridden 1 Giro before, back in 2006 - before the race she told us what she was hoping for - and yesterday she was out for most of the day in a break which only got caught in the 3km long uphill tunnel at the end of the race.
1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) HTC-Highroad, 00:22:17
2. Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products UCK, + 0:12
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit, + 0:15
4. Judith Arndt (Ger) HTC-Highroad, + 0:23
5. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) HTC-Highroad, + 0:30
6. Emma Pooley (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo, + 0:43
7. Olga Zabelinskaya (Rus) Diadora-Pasta Zara, + 0:51
8. Evelyn Stevens (USA) HTC-Highroad, + 0:54
9. Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) Gauss, + 1:00
10. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini, + 1:03
But the biggest story from today's stage is Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) winning her first Giro Donne at the age of 24. Last year she won the Points and the Best Young Rider jersey - this year she takes home the points, mountains and overall win - the maglia rosa, which she won on all but 1 stage of the race. Emma Pooley (Garmin-Cervélo) was the only rider who could keep up with Vos' many attacks, and their mountain battles lit up the race - she finished in second place, with HTC-Highroad's Judith Arndt rounding off the podium in 3rd. The only jerseys Vos didn't win were ones she isn't eligible for - the best young rider jersey, which went to Elena Berlato of Top Girls Fassa Bortolo and Best Italian, to former World Champion Tatiana Guderzo of MCipollini-Giambenini.
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit, 25:42:40
2. Emma Pooley (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo, + 03:16
3. Judith Arndt (Ger) HTC-Highroad, + 08:15
4. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini, + 09:09
5. Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) Gauss, + 12:46
6. Ruth Corset (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango, + 12:58
7. Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products UCK, + 14:15
8. Sylwia Kapusta (Pol) Gauss, + 14:26
9. Shara Gillow (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango, + 15:48
10. Mara Abbott (USA) Diadora-Pasta Zara, + 16:24
Vos started the way she meant to go on, winning the uphill cobbled sprint on stage 1, then taking tough, hilly, Classics-esque stage 3, the flat technical sprint stage 6, and two of the three mountains stages - Stage 7, which included a climb and descent of the legendary Mortirolo and Stage 9, uphill all day with a 3km-long, dark tunnel at 15% gradient. Her team, Nederland Bloeit, have work tirelessly for her - and all her work paid off. She truly is the best cyclist in the world!
If you want an idea of what riding the race has been like, here's the latest film from AA Drink-Leontien.nl, with lots of film from on-board the bike of Lucinda Brand from stage 8 (I think). These filmpjes have been a real highlight of the Giro (well aside from the Numero Uno song, which is implanted in my brain!), and I love the perspective. I wish all teams did this, in every race!
Massive congratulations to Vos, Pooley, Arndt, Berlato, all the stage winners - Marianne Vos, Shara Gillow, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, Nicole Cooke and Emma Pooley - and every single rider who rode this race. They gave us some of the best racing I've ever seen - and also for all the rider tweets and blogs and updates that helped us follow the race and get insights on what it was really like. Thanks also to Cicloweb, team AA Drink-Leontien.nl and the dedicated youtubers for providing us with videos to help us watch the action. And again to Cicloweb, CyclingFever, and the non-racing twitterers - HTC's Beth Duryea, Hitec's Karl Lima, Roy Gershow, Mr Ash Moolman (Carl Pasio!), and Anton Vos for the race updates. And finally my personal thanks to Monty, for his race previews, and his fantastic daily race-reports-in-screencaps - they made me laugh every day, and just added to what was an incredible race!