Believe it or not, there are actually two major globally competitive stage races happening right now. You obviously know about the 100th edition of Le Tour de France. Equally as competitive, though far less known, is the Giro D'Italia Femminile Internazionale - now known as La Giro Rosa.
Celebrating it's 25th anniversary, La Giro Rosa will run 8 stages totaling 804 km through some of the most beautiful country in Italy. There will be 2 high summit finishes and it will end with an individual time trial in the city of Cremona where the race will most likely be decided...and most likely in the favor of arguably the greatest cyclist of these modern times - Marianne Vos.
Ms. Vos deserves a long post of her own, and as such I'll just touch on a couple of highlights of her performances in only this year. In just the first six months of 2013 she has managed to reach the top step of the podium in each of the following races:
The Dutch national cyclocross championships, The UCI cyclocross world championships, The Drentse 8, The Ronde Van Drenthe, The Tour of Flanders, La Flèche Wallone Féminine, The Gran Prix Elsy Jacobs, The Emakumeen Saria and The Emakumeen Bira.
These are some of the most important races on the womens UCI calendar. Any one of these would be a feather in most professional womens riders caps. For Vos however, each is just another step on the road to becoming arguably the winningest cyclist the world has ever seen.
At the ridiculously young age of only 26, she has plenty of time to do it. Many cycling fans such as myself are continuously on the lookout for the next Merckx, but perhaps we are looking on the wrong side of the racing schedule. Perhaps the next incarnation of Merckx not only exists, but is already racing and winning all over the world, and you can follow her for the next 6 days as she competes in the only major stage race still available for women.
All of that praise aside, maybe one of the best examples of her cycling prowess is seen in the clip above. Watch as she makes a nearly impossible save (while sprinting at full speed) that few riders - male or female - could ever hope to make. If it was me I'd have been taking a dirt nap in the middle of the road while the rest of the peloton left tire tracks all across my back.