Race report

Attacking display from Team Sunweb on tricky Giro stage

Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile

After yesterday’s difficult individual time trial, the rider’s were faced with a profile that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the classics today; with small climbs littered throughout the route. There was a sense in the peloton that it could have been a successful day for a breakaway which led to a really attacking race, with multiple failed attacks in the opening hour of the stage. Juliette Labous was one of those who got a small gap, along with a few other riders but they were eventually brought back.

The race was all together through the intermediate sprint at just over 60 kilometres to go and the team worked well to set up Lucinda Brand, who won the sprint and took three valuable bonus seconds with it. With a slight lull in the peloton at around 30 kilometres remaining, Leah Kirchmann took advantage and put in a stinging attack to go clear. The Canadian TT champion rode well, building up a lead of 55 seconds going over the penultimate categorised climb of the day. However, the pace in the peloton increased as the race headed towards the finale and Kirchmann was caught with ten kilometres left.

Attacks continued to fly on the uphill finale, with Brand covering several attacks and making some of her own before Floortje Mackaij also made a move off the front. Everything would regroup somewhat though and the stage was be decided by an elite group of riders on the difficult uphill finale, with Vos taking stage honours. Brand was first home for the team and maintained her fourth place on GC, while Labous retained her lead in the young rider classification and top ten spot on GC too.

“We started the day with an aggressive plan, with hopes to set Lucinda up so she could gain time in the GC,” explained Kirchmann after the stage. “It was a classics kind of course with shorter climbs and even a cobbled section. There were a lot of attacks from the start, but every team wanted to be there, so nothing could get away. I didn’t have the best legs, but I changed my mindset and kept fighting for a breakaway. I finally got a gap after the second GPM heading into the descent. Unfortunately I was alone; so I got in my individual time trial today! I could help Lucinda a bit when she attacked the group and bridged the gap in the last ten kilometres. Juliette, Floortje and Lucinda were all there for the last three kilometre climb where the riders with the best legs sprinted for the win. Our tactics didn’t work out with a result in the end, but we are happy that we tried.”

Team Sunweb coach Nicolas Marche added: “It was a hard stage and one that looked like a classic, with a lot of small two or three kilometre climbs. The team made it a hard stage, hoping to get clear in a breakaway but to also help Lucinda at the finish. Nothing really managed to get clear before Leah made her attack and went solo. Unfortunately no one went with her to make it a small group and the bunch reacted, bringing her back inside the last ten kilometres. At the finish it was a battle on the uphill and Lucinda lost a little bit of time but not much. We’ll keep fighting with the same mindset we had today: if you don’t try, you never win.”

Results

Pos. Rider Team Time Points
1 VOS Marianne CCC - Liv 3:19:33 25
2 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team ,, 20
3 LONGO BORGHINI Elisa Trek-Segafredo Women 0:03 18