The Maglia Rosa at the Giro Rosa stays in the team after Leah Kirchmann sprints to 4th place, taking over the race lead from team mate Lucinda Brand. Juliette Labous also holds onto her young rider lead after stage three.
It was another hot day for the third stage of the Giro Rosa, with 132 kilometre stage consisting of eight 16.5 kilometre laps around Corbetta. The peloton remained compact whilst the intermediate sprint was contested, with Leah and Lucinda coming to the forefront of the action once again taking both 2nd and 3rd place at the line. On the third lap three riders were able to snap the elastic, opening up a two minute advantage before the peloton began to organise their chase.
Things eventually came back together at four kilometres to go, where a crash in the bunch saw Team Sunweb’s Julia Soek on the floor and forced to abandon the race. Ahead of the crash, Lucinda brought Leah into perfect position for the sprint, with Leah crossing the line in 4th place. Leah takes over the race lead from Lucinda and Juliette also holds onto her young rider lead.
Leah said: “It was a fast race today on a flat and technical circuit. Lucinda and I were able to take some time at the first intermediate sprint. A small break went and then the race was pretty controlled from then on. The break was brought back on the last lap and the team did a good job collecting to set up our lead out. Unfortunately Julia crashed in a hectic moment, and this also caused us to lose each other. Lucinda and I were able to find each other again in the final kilometres, and she did a really good lead out through the last corner with 250 metres to go. I gave it my best effort to finish 4th in the sprint, and this was also enough to take over the race lead. It is an honour to wear the pink jersey heading into tomorrow, but it is also a bittersweet day to have Julia out of the race.”
Team Sunweb coach Hans Timmermans said: “It’s a really big disapointment that we lost Julia today. It was a big crash with a lot of riders involved, and Julia was unable to continue with the race – she will be missed. The positive that we can take from the stage is that we keep the jerseys in the team with Leah finishing 4th in the sprint. Whilst we’re feeling deflated having lost Julia, we will continue to fight here in Italy.”
Regarding Julia Soek’s crash, team physician Anko Boelens gives a report on her injuries: “Julia has a greater tubercle fracture of her left shoulder. The fracture looks as good as it can be. In one week she will have another x-ray and if the fracture is not displaced, surgery is not needed. If all goes well then hopefully she can begin to use her arm again and begin the recovery process.”