By Owen Rogers
After Lucy Garner’s top 10 on Wednesday, Emma Pooley proved that British riders are on the up, winning yesterday’s stage six at the Giro d’Italia Femminile. The former time trial World Champion broke clear on the first categorised climb of the day then stayed away to win by 15 seconds.
Thursday’s 112 km stage between Gaiarine and San Fior was the first mountain stage of the race, with three categorised climbs. Pooley attacked alone on the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio, inside the first 30 km, building a decent lead before a group of six bridged across.
At 13km and 7% gradient, the final climb of La Crosetta is one of the toughest climbs of this year’s Giro and it was here Pooley launched her final attack. By the time she reached the top she had dropped all her companions and raced the remaining 27 kilometres to the line alone.
Behind her, the Rabo-Liv team of World Champion, Marianne Vos continued to dominate. The Dutch woman came second in the sprint for second, sandwiched by two team mates.
“In the information we got in advance, the stage didn’t look so hard. But I heard from others that the climbs were really difficult,” Pooley said after the win. “After the problems I had in the first stage there was no point anymore for going for GC, so I had nothing to lose. I just had to ride aggressively and try to win a stage. You don’t win if you don’t try. With that in mind I started the stage. We’re lucky it worked, it was really close at the end.”
“The girls put me in the right position for the first climb, that was a really steep one. They did a great job, looking after me. After my first attack I was about 25 kilometres alone, then I was caught by a group. Then I was alone again for the last 40 kilometres. It was hard.
“Rabo Liv and Giant chased, because they wanted to win the stage as well. I thought they would catch me for sure. I had two minutes at first, then suddenly 1-20 and then the gap was reducing very quickly. With two kilometres to go I had about 19 seconds. I really wanted to do it for the other girls, because they really believed in me.”
“Now we’ll try to win another stage with the team. We have the freedom to try everything. This victory gave us confidence.”
British time trial champion Pooley will start tomorrow’s stage in 13th position over all, eight minutes 35 seconds down. Her Giro has been difficult, losing time in unexpected places, she was even photographed having a nosebleed on stage one.
Tomorrow sees the race head west into Lombardy, where the peloton tackles the 91.8 km between Aprica and Chiavenna. Though not as tough as stage six, the first climb begins immediately the flag drops, so expect some big time gaps to form.
Giro d’Italia Femminile 2014, stage six
1. Emma Pooley (Lotto-Belisol)
2. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
3. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
4. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv)
5. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano)
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products)
7. Mara Abbott (United Healthcare)
8. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv)
9. Annamiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv)
10. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products)
Overall classification after stage six
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in 18:03:19
2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) at 0:45
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec Products) at 0:53
4. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) at 2:12
5. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) at 2:17
6. Mara Abbott (United Healthcare) at 2:58
7. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) at 4:41
8. Annamiek va Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) at 6:09
9. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) at 6:18
10. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) at 6:18
Marianne Vos extends her lead in Giro d’Italia Femminile after another stage win
Marianne Vos takes stage four win to retain overall lead in 2014 Giro Rosa
Combative Annamiek van Vleuten wins again whilst Rabo-Liv team-mate Marianne Vos sits pretty in pink
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