After a challenging day Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) proved for the third time to be the strongest rider in the Giro Donne, soloing to victory in Alassio. Juliette Labous (DSM-Firmenich) rode through the finish 13 seconds behind the World Champion with Lidl-Trek’s Gaia Realini close behind to take third on the stage.
The fight for pink appears to be all but wrapped up (maybe, who knows, it’s still cycling), with the jersey firmly on the shoulders of Van Vleuten and her four-minute lead in the general classification. But the rest of the top ten shifted significantly with Labous moving into second overall and Realini also jumping over Veronica Ewers to hold third.
How it happened
- There were plenty of attacks throughout the day with Uno-X marking the early part of the stage. Nothing was able to stick thanks to the efforts of Movistar, who were not keen to let even a non-GC threat off the front. A combination of the attacks and Movistar’s pace split the peloton, although many riders were able to regain contact ahead of the final two climbs of the day.
- Mavi García attacked on Colle Paravenna with 13 km to go on the stage and was able to get some distance before the inevitable attack from Van Vleuten. Gaia Realini and Juliette Labous were initially able to follow the pink jersey, while Niamh Fisher-Black, after already making multiple attacks earlier in the stage, hovered just behind the three.
- Van Vleuten crossed the penultimate climb first with Labous and Realini, while García trailed just behind. Fisher-Black could be seen in the camera shot just behind the four. Behind, Ewers clawed her way over the climb nearly half a minute behind the leaders.
- On the approach to the final climb García and Fisher-Black joined a group of chasers with Silvia Persico and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig, but there was a lack of cooperation and at the base of the climb they were down 40 seconds from the leaders.
- Van Vleuten set out for her third stage victory of the week with 1.5 km to go on the final climb and rode to her third stage victory, with riders behind crossing in ones and twos as Uttrup and Lippert left the second chase behind.
Brief stage results
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) 3:07:52
- Juliette Labous (DSM-Firmenich) @ 0:13
- Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek) @ 0:20
- Liane Lippert (Movistar) @ 0:49
- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) @ 0:55
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) 18:06:51
- Juliette Labous (DSM-Firmenich) @ 3:56
- Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek) @ 4:25
- Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) @ 5:35
- Erica Magnaldi (UAE Team ADQ) @ 5:37
Notes and analysis
- With a stage win under her belt, the European champion Lorena Wiebes left the Giro Donne ahead of stage 7. SD Worx announced her departure on Thursday morning, adding that the star sprinter has her eye on the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. Elena Cecchini, a teammate of Wiebes, also left the race early. SD Worx is now down in numbers, but Fisher-Black was one of the most aggressive riders of the day.
- Apparently after winning the sixth stage Van Vleuten, instead of putting her feet up, went to recon the seventh stage, specifically the finishing climb. No rest for the wicked.
- Movistar’s plan was not for Van Vleuten to win a seventh stage, per se. The Spanish team was hoping another one of their riders would take stage honours, specifically Lippert or Paula Patiño. However, if neither rider could get in a break the pink jersey was free to go for gold on the final climb. Which is exactly what happened.
- While Van Vleuten, Labous and Realini were off the front near the end of the race, Van Vleuten tacked herself onto the back. With over three minutes already in the GC, it was up to the French and Italian riders to distance themselves from their chasers. This allowed Van Vleuten to save energy to attack for her third stage win.
Next up: Rest / travel day
The race will resume on Saturday with stage 8. On Friday the riders travel from mainland Italy to the island of Sardinia.
The eighth stage from Nuoro to Sassari, on Saturday, covers 125.7 km, a long stage for this Giro. There is only one Category 3 climb – a 9.8 km climb that averages just 3.1% – but the road is anything but flat. The last several kilometers are also slightly uphill. Overall, it’s not exactly a general classification landmark. Could it be … could Saturday finally be a day for the breakaway?
Quote of the day
“Finally I got Gaia Realini in front of me instead of on my wheel.”Annemiek van Vleuten
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