By Owen Rogers
Not content with winning Friday’s Giro Rosa prologue, Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) won yesterday’s mountain-top finish at San Donato Val do Comino. Race leader and team mate, Marianne Vos lead a large group over the line 21 seconds down, ensuring she retained the lead of the 10-stage race.
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Thirty-one year old van Vleuten had been part of a 15-woman break which formed nearly half way through the 125km stage. Undulating terrain late in the race served to whittle that number down and only six remained to contest the final climb of the day. With only three kilometres left, van Vleuten attacked breaking clear to win by ten seconds.
Van Vleuten is clearly in scintillating form, recently winning the Dutch time trial championship and, as well as her prologue success, spent much of stage two in a two-woman break. The day was one she had targeted, telling the team website: “This was really a stage for me. When I ended up in a break of fifteen, the scenario was ideal for me and for the team. They put me under considerable pressure, but I waited until the last three kilometres. It’s extremely gratifying when the plan works.”
The British challenge has very much faded. Sprinters Hannah Barnes (United Healthcare) and Lucy Garner (Giant-Shimano) both occupy the bottom half of the general classification. Emma Pooley, who finished second in her last two Giro starts, is in 35th place and Sharon Laws (United Healthcare) is top placed in 32nd. Laws, Queen of the Mountains at the Women’s Tour, celebrated her 40th birthday yesterday, finishing one minute and 35 seconds down.
Today’s stage takes the peloton from the coastal town of Alba Adriatica to Jesa. With a sizeable climb in the final 35km, it could finish with a sprint from a small group of favourites.
Giro d’Italia Femminile, stage three
1. Annameik van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv)
2. Elena Berlato (Alé-Cipollini)
3. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle-Honda)
4. Doris Schweizer (Astana BePink)
5. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
6. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano)
7. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv)
8. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
9. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
10. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products)
Overall classification after stage three
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) 9.00.01
2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) 0.21
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec Products) 0.29
4. Annamiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) 1.41
5. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) 1.50
6. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
7. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) 1.53
8. Anna van der Breggan (Rabo-Liv) 1.54
9. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products) 2.00
10. Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) 2.24
Marianne Vos takes second but extends her overall lead
Rabo-Liv continue to dominate the Giro d’Italia Femminile despite strong challenge
Rabo-Liv dominate opening 2.5km prologue time trial in Italy
Cycling Weekly's guide to the biggest women's stage race, the Giro Rosa.