Alana Castrique : “I live a bit like a pro during this period.”
If no championships, I will be very disappointed
Only two days left till the start of the Giro Rosa on Friday 5 July! This ten-day stage race gets kicked off in Cassano Spinola with a team time trial of 18 kilometres and finishes with a stage to Udine on Sunday 14 July.
There are four Belgians in the Lotto Soudal Ladies team for the Giro: Annelies Dom (33), Lotte Kopecky (23), Julie Van De Velde (26) and Kelly Van den Steen (23). The other two team members are Dutch rider Danique Braam (23) and the British rider Dani Christmas (31). They all arrived in Italy today and did a recon of the team time trial course.
Dany Schoonbaert, sports manager Lotto Soudal Ladies: “We already prepared well for the team time trial in Belgium. The riders went to the Ardennes for a training. We choose to ride the team time trial with a road bike because there are two climbs and one descent on the course. There are almost no flat parts. There are some sharp turns on the descent as well and then it’s better to ride with a road bike than with a time trial bike. You can steer better with a road bike. The team already came to Italy today, so we could do a recon of the team time trial.”
“It’s very important that we can participate in the Giro. This is the most beautiful stage race on the calendar. We’re happy to be back after a few years of absence. And we can’t wait to start. The riders are all in shape, they showed that among other at the Belgian Time Trial Championship.”
“The Giro route is very hard. The least tough stages in this race can still be compared to an Ardennes race. On a few occasions a larger group could ride to the finish and then we hope that Lotte Kopecky survives the selection and can sprint too. She’s also taking part in the Giro to further develop as a rider. Julie Van De Velde had a very strong spring season and has set a step forward this year. We’ll see how this Giro goes for her. It’s an advantage for her that there are no finishes at the end of a descent. Uphill it’s just a matter of being the strongest. The teammates can help Julie on the way to the climbs or join an early break and then help Julie further down the stage. We’ll also look for opportunities to attack. We want to have a nice Giro.”