The opening few stages of the 32nd edition of the Giro d’Italia Donne seem to have decided the race already. The first, a 27km team time trial from Fossano to Cuneo won by Trek-Segafredo caused race-defining time gaps to form straight away, putting FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope in particular on the back foot. The French team had the worst of luck on the first day, with leader Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig crashing.
Stage 2 was another race-splitting stage, finishing on a category one climb up to Prato Nevoso wherein SD Worx didn’t so much stamp their mark as trample all over the stage and the GC. Anna van der Breggen took the win, followed by teammate Ashleigh Moolman Pasio with Demi Vollering rounding off a full SD Worx podium. Van der Breggen’s barnstorming climb put her into the GC lead by 1:26, the nearest non-SD Worx rider was Lizzie Deignan at 3:31
Stage 3 was one for the breakaway, and it wasn’t just any breakaway. The move of the day contained Lucinda Brand, Liane Lippert, Elise Chabbey, and none other than Marianne Vos. It was a wet ride between Casale Monferrato and Ovada, with a few slips and slides along the way including for Chabbey. The break came to the line with over two minutes on the main group. The greatest rider of all time, Vos, did her thing to take her 29th Giro Donne stage win.
Stage 4's mountain time trial would have been a looming prospect for any rider not suited to the terrain. The 11km road up to Cascate Del Toce — a stunning waterfall at the top of a mountain — belonged to Grace Brown for most of the day, before the higher-placed GC riders came through. Demi Vollering toppled the Australian’s time of 26:14 by eleven seconds before Van der Breggen blew it all out of the water by posting a 24:57. The World Champion’s ride took her GC lead to 2:51 over Moolman Pasio and saw lower-ranked riders fall foul of the time limit as a result.
Below are some pictures from photographer Sean Hardy, who has been embedded with Ceratizit–WNT Pro Cycling, that capture the race so far.