Emma Norsgaard takes Giro Donne sprint victory in Colico on stage six

Blisteringly fast stage around Lake Como ends with Van der Breggen maintaining her GC lead

Emma Norsgaard at the 2021 Giro Donne
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Emma Norsgaard flew the flag for Denmark on Wednesday taking her first Giro Donne stage on the shores of Lake Como. After finishing second on stage five, the 21-year-old was perfectly positioned in the final, coming off the wheel to finish ahead of Coryn Rivera (DSM), with Marianne Vos taking a second consecutive third place for Jumbo-Visma.

The final sprint was a scrappy one, with a number of teams trying to position their sprinters, Trek-Segafredo in the mix with Lizzie Deignan once again leading out Lucinda Brand, but it was the pure sprinters who had the real control in the final.

The race was run at a ridiculously high place, fishing 22 minutes ahead of the fastest predicted schedule, and with a team-mate in the breakaway, overall leader Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) was able to relax and protect her advantage.  

How it happened

For the sixth stage the Giro Donne headed north from Milan for its longest stage, a complete circuit of Lake Como amounting to 155km in the saddle. While there were no intermediate sprints or classified climbs, the route was up and down all day and suited to a punchy sprinter, with Marianne Vos looking for a 30th career stage victory.

As with the other road stages this year, the pace was very high, the first hour ridden at 43kph - 5kph faster than the fastest schedule - and no one was able to get away. Only with 45km ridden did US national champion Lauren Stephens (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) get anywhere, but she was only ever allowed 15 seconds before being caught.

Eventually, on one of the small climbs 65km into the race Italian champion Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) got away, taking second placed Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio with her, the duo building a small gap of around 25 seconds, with Vos’s Jumbo-Visma and BikeExchange leading the chase. 

While Longo Borghini had struggled early in the race, beginning the day 21st overall, nearly 12 minutes down, Moolman-Pasio’s place at the front was more interesting. The South African was second overall, 2-51 behind SDWorx team-mate, maglia rosa Anna van der Breggen. 

Two of the strongest riders in the world, Longo Borghini and Moolman-Pasio soon ground out their advantage, extending it to 2-25 as they entered the closing 50km. However, just five kilometres later the gap began to come down dramatically.

Some 30km later, under the pressure of Vos’s Jumbo-Visma, Norsgaard’s Movistar and Rivera’s DSM, the peloton had the break on a long lead of around 1-10 on the gently undulating run into the finish.

Longo Borghini and Moolman-Pasio were eventually caught with 13km to go the pace ramping up to a tense final. 

There was a tense moment when Australian champion Sarah Roy (BikeExchange) was joined by compatriot Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) off the front, but the duo were unable to gain a real advantage and were caught with 1600m to go.

With race now heading towards its climax in the north east, stage seven sees the peloton head to Lake Garda for a lumpy 104km, with a third category climb coming on each or five circuits around Puegnango del Garda.

Results

Giro d’Italia Donne 2021, stage six: Colico to Colico (155km)

1. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar, in 3-41-39
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) DSM
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 
4. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana
5. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 
7. Ilaria Sanguinetti (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service
8. Maria Vittoria Sperotto (Ita) AR Monex
9. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SD Worx
10. Alexis Ryan (USA) Canyon-SRAM, all at same time 

General classification after stage six

1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) SD Worx, in 14-11-47
2. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) SD Worx at 2-51
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx at 3-03
4. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo at 5-53
5. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM at 6-12
6. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT at 6-35
7. Mavi Garcia (Esp) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 6-57
8. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 7-01
9. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZl) SD Worx at 7-22
10. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana at 7-24