Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) took a solo win on stage eight of the Giro Rosa, crossing the line 12 seconds ahead of a lone chaser, with the bunch finishing further back.
The Dutch rider broke away with a small group, chasing an earlier attack. Eventually, she was able to pass - taking the win herself, with the next rider - Tetyana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota) in second at 12 seconds and Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) leading the bunch at 1-33.
The 141km stage from Baraonissi to Palinuro had a sombre beginning, with the Valcar-PBM team mates of Claudia Cretti - the Italian rider who crashed on stage seven - taking to the start whilst she remained in hospital.
However, being the Queen stage of the ten day race, it was pipped as the most influential and breaks formed early.
The pivotal move came when Janneke Ensing and Tetyana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota) chased a lone rider - Ane Santesteban (Alé Cipollini). Santesteban was soon dropped, as was Ensing - leaving Riabchenko alone.
Eventually Anouksa Koster (WM3 Pro Cycling) and Brand bridged to Ensing, with British rider Hannah Barnes eventually making an attempt to join them before being reeled back in by the 42kph pace of the peloton.
Riabchenko continued solo for some time, but eventually Brand's pace dropped her companions and she caught the lone rider with 10km to the line.
With 5km to go, Brand hit the deck on a descent - losing her new companion - but she was soon back on the bike and chasing hard. With 2km to go, she'd regained the time, and accelerated past Riabchenko. This time, never looking back and crossing the line 12 seconds ahead.
In the meantime, Ensing and Koster had been caught and passed by the peloton, with Guarnier taking the bunch sprint and the GC contenders Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle High5), Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica Scott) and Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) finishing together.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly after the stage, Brand said she'd highlighted the stage as one to suit her early on - saying: "We said we'd try to be in the break again today.. and I told the girls it was a stage that would suit me. Luckily I could make it."
Talking us through the final kilometres, she said: "[Whilst I was] chasing [Riabchenko], I was almost catching back - I crashed in the descent with 4 to 5km to go - I had to get up quickly. [I knew I had the win] with 3km to go, when I saw her losing speed. Then I knew I'd win this."
The GC leaders all finished at the same time, so van der Breggen stays in the maglia rosa, with Longo Borghini second and van Vleuten third.
Giro Rosa stage eight results
- Lucida Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb in 3-46-10
- Tetyana Riabchenko (Ukr) Lensworld-Kuota at 12s
- Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans at 1-33
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-Scott at 1-33
- Elisa Longo-Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5 at 1-33
- Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolman at 1-33
- Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 at 1-33
- Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott at 1-33
- Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels-Dolmans at 1-33
- Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High5 at 1.39
Giro Rosa General classification after stage eight
- Anna van der Breggen (Nld) Boels-Dolmans
- Elisa Longo-Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5 at 1-03
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Orica-Scott at 1-39
- Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels-Dolmans at 3-07
- Lucinda Brand (Nld) Team Sunweb at 3-26
- Amanda Spratt (Aus) Orica-Scott at 3-26
- Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Energie at 4-02
- Karol-Ann Canuel (Can) Boels-Dolmans at 4-22
- Claudia Lichtenberg (Ger) Wiggle High5 at 5.05
- Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women's Team at 5.15
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