Ragusa, Moreno, Shekel and Salazar took turns on the rollers in the seven scheduled stages
The hills and the hard walls of the Adriatic side, the great alpine climbs and finally the flat time trial in Milan: yesterday the first edition of the Giro Virtual came to an end, with the Astana Women’s Team in the start-list of the Pink Race of the event organized by RCS Sport. The seven stages, two per week, were held on the Garmin virtual platform and the routes were selected from those that had been scheduled for the men’s Giro d’Italia before the postponement for the coronavirus Covid-19: the athletes had to test themselves on really demanding climbs such as Madonna di Campiglio, Laghi di Cancano, Monginevro and Sestrière, but each day of the race presented its challenges just like a real stage race.
During the seven stages scheduled Italian Katia Ragusa, Colombian Liliana Moreno, Ukrainian Olga Shekel and Mexican Yareli Salazar alternated themselves on the rollers for Astana Women’s Team: the commitment of all four was great, with Ragusa ready to get involved in all seven stages, with Shekel able to equip herself in limited time and with the obstacles of the period, with Moreno and Salazar who were even available to get up in the middle of the night to compete in times unfavorable to them.
The adaptation to a new reality still little known by athletes and staff has inevitably led to some initial difficulties that have negatively affected the general classification, but in the second part of the Giro Virtual the Astana Women’s Team has been able to catch some nice satisfaction in terms of performance: the duo Ragusa and Moreno managed to won the Sestrière stage and then also the final one of Milan.
«The first stage of the Giro Virtual was also my first experience in a race on the rollers – said Katia Ragusa – and therefore I did not even know well what to expect: here I understood that these competitions are even harder than the real ones, psychologically and for the hardness of the routes. Anyhow, it was very productive because in a normal training on the rollers you can’t “go further”, the motivation of the race instead made me give more. I have to say that I miss the road races a lot, but at the start of the stages of the Giro Virtual the sensations were similar to those of a normal race: it was a challenge, but an experience that I consider very positive».