The Optum women are capping off their successful Europe campaign with the Giro della Toscana before heading to Florence, Italy to contest the World TTT, Denise Ramsden and Joelle Numainville represent Canada in the Individual TT on Tuesday, September 24th, then Jade Wilcoxson, and Leah Kirchmann, along with Joelle and Denise, join their national teams for the road race on Saturday, September 28th.
We’re 4 stages (3 road races and a prologue) into Giro della Toscana with just the final stage into Florence to finish the race tomorrow. The team has been racing well, and coping well with the type of craziness that is rarely experienced in US races. To start the field is 140 of the worlds top riders, many of whom are fine tuning their form for worlds, and a few of whom are still trying to make their national teams selection. Then there is the challenge of a race bible which rarely has a deception or a map that exactly matches the course itself, and finally there is the crazy Italian traffic. Whilst much of Italy are cycling fans, those that aren’t out to watch the race, seem to see no reason why an oncoming bike race should slow down their journey, so in addition to the stationary road furniture, the complicated courses and the other 139 crazy riders, there are also parked and moving cars to deal with, but somehow it’s all just part of the fun of racing in Italy and the team have been taking it in their stride and showing that Optum are here to compete. Yesterday Denise was top 15 in a chaotic bunch sprint. In today’s stage, Jade made it into the only significant break of the race so far, which was unfortunately caught at the base of one of the stages 2 cat 1 climbs. Joelle and Lauren narrowly missed the race winning break of the day which formed after the first cat 1 climb, coming home in a select chase group. The team is looking forward to an exciting stage into the center of Florence tomorrow and then it’s a week to prepare and fine tune for worlds TTT