Today, Friday 2 July, the Giro d’Italia Donne begins, with also Hanna Nilsson in the line-up of the Lotto Soudal Ladies. She broke her left collarbone last week on the second stage of the Lotto Belgium Tour. One day later, on Thursday, she underwent surgery and one week later she is standing at the start of the Giro in Fossano.
“It has been a challenging week for me”, says Hanna Nilsson. “At first, I was very devastated and I felt down. I had a lot of pain. But I managed to pick myself up and a few days later I tried to ride on the Tacx rollers. That was very painful, but that was normal of course 72 hours after surgery. The second time I already felt it was getting better and it kept progressing, which made me starting to feel optimistic. Of course I was balancing on a thin line: I needed to keep busy to maintain my shape and I didn’t want to see the benefits of all my efforts and preparations go down the drain, but I also needed to make sure not to push myself too hard. So there were lots of emotions, but now that I am in Italy I am fully focused on the race itself.”
The Giro lasts until Sunday 11 July and consists of ten stages. The first one is a team time trial of 26.7 kilometres from Fossano to Cuneo.
“Yesterday morning we did a recon of the course of the team time trial”, tells Hanna Nilsson. “First of all, I am happy there aren’t a lot of corners on the course. We did a small alteration to the bike so that I’m in the most comfortable position that’s possible. My first purpose is to survive the time trial. After the second stage, with a summit finish at Prato Nevoso, I will see where I stand on GC. Without this injury it was my goal to aim for a place on top fifteen. I haven’t given up on it yet, but I realize it has become more difficult of course. If I see that going for a high GC position won’t be possible, then so be it and I will choose other goals during this Giro. It all depends on how my body will react to the succession of stages. I will take it day by day and I just want to enjoy the Giro because it is one of my favourite races.”
“I especially look forward to the ninth stage, which finishes close to Slovenia, because I have lived in that country for three years. I like all the decisive stages in general, with long and challenging climbs. All stages have nice features actually, in the breakaway stages our team definitely has chances to animate the race. We are all happy to be here and we’re ready to fight!”, concludes Nilsson.