Briton Emma Pooley took charge of the Giro Donne in Italy thanks to second place in today’s mountain-top finish on Monte Serra.
The Cervelo climber lost out to American Mara Abbott (Highroad) in a two-way sprint, but the leader’s pink jersey was more than adequate compensation for the day’s work.
Pooley now leads by over a minute from Abbott, while previous leader Edita Pucinskaite finished two minutes behind the front pair to slip to seventh overall.
“I would like to have won the stage, but more for the bonus seconds than the win,” said Pooley after the 106km stage.
The course took in two ascents of the 10km-long Monte Serra and, true to form, Pooley attacked the first time up the climb. A storm provided welcome relief from the intense heat, but a predictable outcome coming down the mountain. “On the descent, most of us crashed, including me,” said Pooley. “It was very wet and slippy, and we all slid out on a corner. But it came together on the flat, so there was a group of maybe 15.”
Abbott attacked on the second and final ascent of the big climb, and Pooley went with her. Not many can match the small Cervelo rider when the road goes up, but “Abbott is definitely a climber” says Pooley, who was forced to give second best at the summit.
The 160-strong field is in stark contrast to the small entry for last month’s Grande Boucle, won by Pooley. Perhaps the pink jersey will afford its wearer some respect and a little more room on the road?
“You get to start at the front and sometimes people give you a bit of space, but not always,” said Pooley, who also leads the mountains classification.
Lizzie Armitstead looks to have bounced back after the disappointment of the national championships and the medal mix-up on the podium. The 20 year old from Otley still holds the lead in the young rider competition going into Tuesday’s 109km stage in Porto Sant’Elpidio.
Stage 3, Calccinaia-Prato a Calci, 106km
1. Mara Abbott (Highroad)
2. Emma Pooley (Cervelo)
3. Claudia Häusler (Cervelo) at 36 seconds
1. Emma Pooley (Cervelo)
2. Mara Abbot (Highroad) at 1 minute 7 seconds
3. Claudia Häusler (Cervelo) at 1 minute 18 seconds