Stage 5 featured the first true test for the peloton at this year’s Giro Rosa, the Passo di Mortirolo. The real racing began after about 30 kilometers when the peloton started their ascent of the climb and quickly the peloton was reduced to about 14 riders. Mara Abbott (Wiggle-High5) attacked early into the climb and was soon chased by Emma Pooley and a very reduced pink jersey group featuring our Doris Schweizer. Abbott increased her gap steadily, gaining over 4 minutes at one point, while the chasing group was reduced to 8 riders in total. The descent proved to be just as decisive as the climb when a few of the chasers were able to close Abbott’s impressive lead down to 30 seconds. Abbott’s lead proved insurmountable, however, and she came through the finish line in Tirano solo followed 37 seconds later by her teammate Elisa Longo Borghini. Mara Abbott assumed the race leader’s pink jersey and Doris for all of her efforts saw herself finish 10th on the stage, now moved up to 10th place on GC, 4:42 back. Here is Doris’ report:
I have dreamed of climbing the Mortirolo with the best climbers of the World, today I was doing it!! I just need to practice my downhill… Still Top 10 on this stage makes me very happy & I know that I can improve still so much for next year! Tomorrow there is another opportunity! I’m proud to represent the Swiss Champion’s jersey like this!
Missing from today’s stage for us were Valentine Scandolara and Rossella Ratto. It was very difficult for our two Italian riders to pull out of their home race. Rossella and Valentina gave us an update:
“As I mentioned earlier in the first stages,” said Rossella, “I’m suffering from this tendon inflammation. I tried to keep on fighting but it was getting worse every day. Now I’ve also a lot of pain in the back and neck because I was riding and walking unbalanced. I’ve already organized the first specialist visits because I want to come back soon. I’m really sorry for leaving the Giro, I never give up, so if I stopped it’s just because the tendon pain was really too much and I would risk to lose the rest of the year.”
“Quitting Giro for me is incredibly sad,” added Valentina, “but I feel I never really recovered from the problems I had early this year and now all the racing really took a toll on my body and I wanted to stop before I fell into a hole. I will head to altitude, no bike for at least one week and I’ll try and recover to hopefully be good in the end of the season.”