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Race report: Van Vleuten claims first road stage and pink jersey of the Giro Donne

The world champion sits 49 seconds ahead of her closest rival Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.

Annemiek Van Vleuten wins the seconds stage of the Giro d’Italia Donne (Cor Vos © 2023)

Annemiek van Vleuten annihilated the second stage of the Giro Donne, winning by 45 seconds over a group of general classification favourites. By winning the stage the world champion also took the first pink jersey of the race, after the stage 1 time trial was cancelled due to heavy rain.

FDJ-Suez’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig led the chasing group across the line to take second, with Juliette Labous of DSM rounding out the podium.

How it happened

Brief stage results

  1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar)
  2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) +45
  3. Juliette Labous (DSM-Firmenich) “
  4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) “
  5. Ane Santesteban (Jayco-AlUla) “

GC standings

  1. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Movistar)
  2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) +49
  3. Juliette Labous (DSM-Firmenich) +51
  4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) +55
  5. Ane Santesteban (Jayco-AlUla) “

Notes and analysis

What’s on tap for Stage 3

The third stage of the Giro Donne is a pretty straightforward day for the sprinters, with only one very short categorized climb that peaks with 71.2 km to go. The women race 118.2 km from Formigine to Modena, a relatively short stage.

Van Vleuten has a comfy cushion in the general classification, and as it’s a flattish day Lidl-Trek and FDJ-Suez, the two teams best placed to displace the world champion, don’t have many opportunities to take time on Van Vleuten. It’s a day for the general classification teams to sit back and reset ahead of stage 4, better to leave this stage to the sprinters.

Quote of the day

Van Vleuten prepped for the Giro at altitude, in Livigno where she has been going to train for years. The Italian cycling hotbed has been the foundation for many of Van Vleuten’s victories, including her triple crown of La Vuelta, Giro Donne and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift in 2022.

Ahead of the Giro she went to Livigno again, but after not feeling her best in the Dutch National Championships she came into the Giro with uncharacteristic doubt of her form.

“Livigno is for me where the magic happens, I recharge myself and I usually come back really strong but I didn’t know, I didn’t test myself, I think Livigno did its work again.”

Annemiek van Vleuten at the finish of the stage

Live pictures were interrupted while the race was in full swing on Passo della Colla due to a thunderstorm so viewers were treated to shots of the crowd. Needless to say, a highlight was seeing this bunny enjoying a cuddle near the finish line.

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