By Owen Rogers
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The Russian rider had tried to get away with two others early in the 118km stage, but they were quickly pegged back. The 28 year old started the day over 38 minutes down, so when she attacked alone, she was allowed to build a lead of three minutes.
With 10 km to race, she still led by around two minutes, but it was not to be. The sprinters’ teams reeled her back in and she finished more than a minute behind stage winner, Vos.
“It was very windy and my plan was to be in a break, but not on my own,” the Russian rider said afterwards. “I was alone, so I had no choice but to work with everything I had. I will not deny that I wanted to win the stage and it seemed possible when the peloton failed to catch me on the first little climb. I’m glad I had the opportunity to try.”
Vos’s win was by more luck than design. Team mate Lucinda Brand sprinted early and, thinking she had won, raised her arms to celebrate only to finish third behind Vos and Shelly Olds (Alé Cipollini).
Vos was satisfied with her win, but is thinking more of the general classification, which she leads by 31 seconds from team mate Pauline Ferrand-Prevot. “From now on it’s important to keep the lead and control the GC,” she told Italian television after the race. “It’s a nice lead, but the mountains are to come and that is the main focus now.”
Wednesday’s stage is similar to yesterday; a flat ride along the Adriatic coast with a single climb to disrupt the sprinters. At 118.3 km, it’s only 300 metres longer than stage four.
Giro d’Italia Femminile, stage four
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-liv)
2. Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini)
3. Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv)
4. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
5. Jolien D’Hoore (Lotto-Belisol)
6. Marta Tagliaferro (Alé Cipollini)
7. Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products)
8. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv)
9. Simona Frapporti (Astana BePink)
10. Barbara Guarischi (Alé Cipollini) all same timw
Overall classification after stage four
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in 12-04-02
2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) at 31secs
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) at 39 secs
4. Annamiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) at 1-51
5. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) at 2-00
6. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) at 2-00
7. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) at 2-03
8. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) at 2-04
9. Ashleigh Mooman (Hitec Products) at 2-08
10. Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) at 2-34
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