Marianne Vos masters the Giro Donne 2021 sprint to take her 29th stage victory

Overall leader Anna van der Breggen finished in the peloton and retains her lead with seven days remaining

Marianne Vos wins at the Giro Donne
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marianne Vos once again proved herself as the Giro Donne’s greatest by taking her 29th stage victory on Sunday.

The former world champion, who also has three Giro general classification wins to her name, was part of a four women break two built a lead of four minutes after escaping with 45 of the 135km stage to go.

With such an advantage they were able to finesse as the end approached. The games began with 1200m to go, Brand missing turns, the cooperation stalling 700m remaining, briefly stranding Vos on the front. After then sitting on Vos’s wheel, Brand launched her sprint at 300m, but Vos had the raw power and timing to come over the top.

Brand hung on for second place, with Liane Lippert come third, and Elise Chabbey in fourth place.

While overall leader Anna van der Breggen lost some of her advantage to the victorious breakaway, Anna van der Breggen still leads the general classification by a good margin.

However, her SDWorx team mates, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio and Demi Vollering, who are currently in second and third place respectively could come under threat, though both are as equally impressive against the clock as they are in the hills

The fourth stage is the race’s second time trial, this time an individual test when the peloton ride from Fondovalle to Riale in the mountains close to the Swiss border. 

The 11.2km stage sees the riders climb 518m at an average gradient of 5.3 per cent, with a maximum of 10 per cent, and with the world time trial champion, Van der Breggen in stunning form she could effectively seal her fourth title.

How it happened 

After the stage two mountain top finish created huge, possibly race winning gaps on the general classification, Sunday’s third day lent itself to a breakaway. However, in the women’s sport breakaways of lesser known riders rarely take the win, and with the day’s lumpy route was such that anything could happen.

Starting in Casale Monferrato and heading south to finish in Ovada the first half of the course was relatively flat, crossing the Po Valley, but as it reached the very edge of the Apennine mountains there were four third category climbs.

The action was always likely to come here, even if none of those ascents were long or particularly steep, so the peloton could also settle for a bunch kick, as they did when Kirsten Wild won in Ovada in 2018.

As it was the day began with the bunch all together, rolling through the Monferrato vineyards in the rain, making for slippery, hazardous roads. And this is how the race rolled for the opening 70km.

Only on the first of the classified climbs did the pace lift, Brodie Chapman (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) attacking. However, the Australian was unable to build an advantage, cresting the climb with a lead of only 15 seconds.

But she was caught on the descent, the bunch having split, before world cyclocross champion Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo), one of the peloton’s best descenders, chipped off the front, taking Liane Lippert (DSM) with her.

They were soon joined by Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) and the four riders took a lead of around one minute over the next climb and into the closing 45km. 

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Chabbey was the best placed of the breakaway on GC, starting the day 5-59 behind the overall leader Van der Breggen, and while her SDWorx team led the bunch they were in no hurry to catch the leaders, whose advantage stretched out to 1-40 when they crossed the line for the first time, with 31km remaining.

This lead continued to build, and the quartet led the Maglia Rosa group by four minutes with when they began the final 10km.

Giro d’Italia Donne, stage 3: Casale Monferrato - Ovada (135km)

1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma 3-31-24
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo 
3. Liane Lippert (Ger) DSM
4. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM all at same time
5. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) Ceratizit-WNT at 3-18
6. Coryn Rivera (USA) DSM
7. Emma Norsgaard (Den) Movistar
8. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana
9. Ilaria Sanguinetti (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service
10. Marta Lach (Pol) Ceratizit-WNT all at same time

1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) SDWorx
2. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) SDWorx
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) SDWorx