Meanwhile, Over in Italy, the Giro Rosa...

After that Stage One hiccup, the Tour de France has smoothly found its momentum and picked up its pace. But it is not the only race occupying this July slot on the calendar. In Italy, the Giro Rosa, essentially the women's Giro d'Italia, and previously known as the Giro Donne, rolled out of Giovinazzo on June 30 on its way to a July 7 finish in Cremona. There are fourteen American women racing with three American teams in Italy, plus another racer with the Dutch-based Rabobank Team. Those fifteen riders and their teams are:

Specialized-Lululemon: Carmen Small, Ally Stacher, Evelyn Stevens, Tayler Wiles

Team Tibco To The Top: Shelley Olds, Lauren Stephens,

US National Team: Mara Abbott, Andrea Dvorak, Lauren Hall, Janel Holcomb, Kristin McGrath, Lauren Tamayo, Brianna Walle, Ruth Winder

Rabobank Women's Cycling Team: Megan Gaurnier

Thus far, three stages into the race, the American riders have been giving a good showing of themselves against the top women in the world including, defending champion Marianne Vos, 2009 Giro campione Claudia Hausler, Giorgia Bonzini, Elisa Borghini, and Ellen van Dijk. On the 118 km first stage, Shelley Olds crossed the line in 7th, with Lauren Hall in 8th. The 100km second stage saw Hall just miss the podium with a 4th place finish. Carmen Small was the next best placed American on the stage, in 18th, with Evelyn Stevens in 21st. The strong finish moved Hall up to 8th on g.c., 21 seconds behind race leader Vos. 

Vos then went on to win the 93.6 km, mountainous, third stage with a 45 second advantage; both Evelyn Stevens and Mara Abbott finished inside the top ten at 7th and 9th respectively. The placings moved Stevens up to 7th on g.c., while Abbott moved up to 9th. Hall made it into an early break, which included Vos, but was unable to hold the pace and slipped back, finishing 62nd, more than 13 minutes behind the stage winner. As a result, Hall fell to 54th on g.c., though she remains highly placed in the Points Classification at 5th.

Alright, well lets keep this going here. Wednesday update: While Marianne Vos picked up a second stage win on today's 137.2 km fourth stage between Monte San Vito and Castelfidardo, two Americans, once again finished in the top ten - Evelyn Stevens managed a very fine 2nd, while Mara Abbott came in 10th. The result moved Stevens up to 4th on G.C., one minute thirty-nine seconds behind Vos, and only six seconds behind third place rider Claudia Hausler, and eight seconds behind Tatiana Guderzo who sits in 2nd. Tomorrow's fifth stage will be shorter at only 73.3 km, but finishes atop the Category 1 climb to Monte Beigua, arguably making this the toughest stage of the race.