We don’t need many more measurements to judge how dominant Anna van der Breggen is, but the Dutchman reminded us in brutal fashion on stage four of the Giro Donne.
In winning the individual time trial, a tough 11.2km course on mountainous parcours, the road and time trial world champion set such a blistering time that she eliminated a dozen riders.
The SD Worx sensation, who is in a commanding position after four stages to win the race for a fourth time, rode the course in a time of 24:57 – with her compatriot and teammate Demi Vollering her closest challenger at 1:06.
With organisers imposing a time cut limit of 30 percent of the winning time, riders had to finish within 7:41 of Van der Breggen or be thrown out of the race.
Unfortunately for 12 riders, they fell short of the maximum time allowed, including Britain’s Elizabeth Holden.
Remarkably, if Van der Breggen had not been present and Vollering had won, 10 of the 12 who were forced to go home would not have had to pack their bags.
It means that the eliminated riders will not be able to take part in the remaining six stages, with Van der Breggen eyeing her second stage race success of the campaign, following on from her win in May’s Vuelta a Burgos.
Somewhat disappointingly for fans, but perhaps as a relief to those in the peloton, Van der Breggen is insistent that she will still retire at the end of the season.
That despite a 2021 campaign that has seen the 31-year-old win nine times, including Spring Classics such as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and La Flèche Wallonne.
After finishing second in the team time trial on the opening day of the Giro Donne, Van der Breggen stormed to a spectacular victory the stage after, winning a punishing summit finish by 82 seconds from her teammate Ashleigh Moolan.
Stage five of the race resumes on Tuesday with a flat parcours in Milan. The 32nd edition of the race – regarded as the biggest in the women’s peloton – comes to an end on July 11.
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