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The race is too vital to women’s cycling to disappear. Last year it celebrated its 23rd edition. Emma Pooley (AA Drink) finished behind winner Marianne Vos (Rabobank).

"It would be terrible for women’s cycling if our Giro stopped, it’s the toughest and most glorious stage race we have," Pooley said.

"I know the organiser Sara Brambilla has done a fantastic job over the last few years to get the race together in tough times, but I don’t think it’s been easy for her. I’m afraid the job of women’s race organisers is made more difficult because the relative lack of media coverage means that it’s very difficult to get sponsors involved."

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