Lorena Wiebes secured her first victory of the 2023 Giro Donne on stage 3 after a hectic final couple of kilometres. The SD Worx team piloted the European champion to the perfect position as the sprint loomed, and in the end, no one could contest the fastest woman in the peloton.
Wiebes’s countrywoman and rival Marianne Vos of Jumbo-Visma finished an easy second with Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) taking third on the stage.
General classification times were taken with a kilometre to go due to the dangerous nature of the finale, and Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) safely rode in to hold onto the pink jersey.
How it happened
- A breakaway of three Italians was caught with 10 km to go and the peloton got ready for a fast sprint to the line, with Uno-X, Canyon-SRAM, and Jayco-AlUla swarming to the front in the final kilometre. Meanwhile, SD Worx sat back and bided their time, waiting for the road to widen.
- In the final kilometre, Barbera Guarischi powered her way to the front of the peloton with Wiebes on her wheel, positioning her teammate perfectly for the sprint, and Wiebes took the victory by nearly a bike length over Vos. It is her third Giro Donne victory, the first two coming on stages 5 and 8 in 2021.
- A lack of wind made for an easy day for the general classification riders. The GC time was taken with a kilometre to go so they didn’t have to worry about getting involved in the sprint.
Brief stage results
- Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx)
- Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma)
- Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM)
- Megan Jastrab (DSM-firmenich)
- Rachele Barbieri (Liv Racing TeqFind)
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar)
- Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Suez) +49
- Juliette Labous (DSM-firmenich) +51
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Lidl-Trek) +55
- Ane Santesteban (Jayco-AlUla) “
Notes and analysis
- Unfortunately, one of the biggest notes on stage 3 was the lack of safety for the peloton, both in the tricky finale and the opening circuits of the race. Many riders went down before the stage really got underway, and in the end, the call was made to take GC times with a kilometre to go, as the run-in was too dangerous.
- While SD Worx played it cool, Canyon-SRAM showed their colours as a force to be reckoned with, keeping their American national champion in position as the sprint trains battled it out in the closing kilometres. After the race, Dygert praised her colleagues, saying it was one of the best lead-outs the team has ever done.
- Letizia Paternoster of Jayco-AlUla touched wheels and hit the ground with around 50 metres to go and could be seen, sans some of her skin suit, being consoled by her teammate Ruby Roseman-Gannon. Hopefully, the Italian is ok to continue with the race, after an incredible ride in the stage one time trial before it was cancelled and the results annulled.
What’s on tap for Stage 4
Day four of the Giro Donne includes three third-category climbs in the back half of the race. The first, Bardi, is 3 km in length and averages 4.8%. The second, which tops out at 27 km to go, is 1.4 km long and 4.9% average gradient. The final climb is the longest at 5 km but the most gradual at only 3.3%.
Those three climbs are not the only hurdles on the map for the riders, however. In classic Giro fashion, there are four uncategorized climbs, three of which are between the first and second of the day. Two are just about a kilometre and a half long, but steeper than the three that earn categorization at 5.6% and 4.7%. The third non-categorized ramp leads directly into the Cat. 3 Passo Montevacà, and at 8.3 km long it essentially makes that middle climb about 9.5 km in length, a steady and unforgiving grind to the highest point of the day.
In short, this stage is rather more complicated than it looks on paper.
It could definitely be a day for the likes of Lidl-Trek and FDJ-Suez to challenge Van Vleuten’s standing overall, as it is deceptively challenging in the run-up to the line. Once the women have passed Strela, the final climb, it’s a 13 km downhill run into the finish in Borgo Val di Taro.
Quote of the day
After a day to forget on stage 2, the top team in women’s cycling continued their winning ways. Wiebes may have taken it, but it was a team effort with SD Worx working overtime to make sure the European champion was safe before the finale.
Wiebes would be an easy woman to work for. It seems like every time a sprint is forecast the Dutchwoman has a better shot than most of crossing the line first. Those odds don’t come without pressure, but Wiebes doesn’t sweat it, she’s doing it for the team not herself, after all.
“Towards the final I always feel the pressure. I have to deliver for the team because the girls work really hard for me, so then I always want to win.”Lorena Wiebes after the stage
Seen on the roadside
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