Sabrina Stultiens showed her strength to take a solid 6th place on the seventh stage of the Italian tour. She worked well as part of a 13-strong breakaway which managed to stay clear of the chasing peloton.
Another hot stage saw the race head towards Baronissi in south-western Italy. The day started with a flurry of unsuccessful attempts to break clear of the fast-moving bunch, but after an hour of racing a group of 13 riders including Sabrina were able to secure an advantage. The escapees built up a solid rhythm which saw them lead the peloton by over three minutes. Dutch rider Sabrina was to the fore in the escape, contributing to the fast pace and also picked up maximum points at the intermediate sprint, and third on the second category climb to Montemiletto.
A chasing group made up of GC leaders tried to bring back the dangerous breakaway, and managed to reduce their lead to just one minute with 35 kilometres remaining. However, as the break pushed on, behind the chasing group fractured before regrouping in the main bunch, allowing the break to hang on to the finish. Sabrina finished strongly in 6th position, conceding the top places to some of the faster sprinters in the break.
Team Sunweb Coach Adriaan Helmantel gave his thoughts on the stage: “It was a long, hot and hard day. It took a long time before the break went and we had Sabrina in it. Of the breakaway riders, she was top placed in GC. Not a bad situation, but the group was 13 riders and there it would be better to have one more rider in it.
“On the steep climb Coryn needed to change bike due to problems with her derailleur. Because of splits in the bunch we could not help her directly, so she eventually just missed the first part of the reduced bunch. On the flat part her group came back and we started directly chasing with Lucinda and Floortje. At that moment the gap was 3min with 35km to go. Only Astana were interested in helping the chase, but it was not enough. The break stayed away with around 30sec and Sabrina sprinted to place 6th.
“Of course we are disappointed that we could not bring it back for a sprint, and that Sabrina was not able to get a better result. On the other hand we are proud of how the girls worked in the chase with one clear goal.”