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Jolien D'Hoore (Mitchelton-Scott) won stage three of the Giro Rosa following a technical eight lap circuit race in challengingly hot conditions.
D'Hoore launched a long sprint from the final corner, beating stage two winner Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) and Canyon-SRAM's Alexis Ryan.
The maglia rosa stays on the shoulders of Team Sunweb, moving to Leah Kirchann who takes it from Lucinda Brand.
How it happened
Stage three, starting and finishing in Corbetta covered 132 kilometres and consisted of eight laps of a 16.5km course, with a near 180 degree bend 3km from the finish and another 90 degree turn with 300m remaining.
The bunch stayed together in the opening laps, with Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) winning the first intermediate sprint with 99km remaining, still in good form following her stage two victory, with Leah Kirchann and team mate Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) second and third respectively.
Attacks began with around 85km to go - the first was caught and gave way to a stronger counter from Sara Penton (Team Virtu Cycling Women), Chiara Perini (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) and Carmela Cipriani (Conceria Zabri-Fanini-Guerciotti).
At 73km the three escapees had a gap of 25 seconds on the twisty circuit, and at the half way point this had increased to 28s.
Whilst the trio built up their lead to 1-01, Jessica Parra (Servetto–Stradalli Cycle–Alurecycling) put in an attack, quickly gaining 50s on the peloton. Parra increased her lead, but was never able to catch the lead group, eventually being swallowed back into the peloton after the fifth lap.
With 25km to go, the three riders out front had 1-50 on the bunch, but the peloton was never going to sit back and let them sail through the line without a fight.
Sprinter's teams began to come to the fore, increasing the pace and rapidly chipping away at the advantage until it was only 30s at 10km to go.
With 4km left, the break had been caught, and a crash in the bunch split the peloton, but those still gunning for the finish line continued their charge.
Narrow streets, cobbles and a 90° bend all presented themselves in the closing metres.
In the end, it was Julien D'Hoore (Mitchelton Scott) who took victory, ahead of Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) and Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM).
D'Hoore said after the race: "Today everybody was expecting a bunch sprint, so during the race it was pretty easy. But then the last lap was pretty hectic and there were a lot of crashes again, but I could stay safe and out of trouble and I just found my way through the bunch, thanks to being a trackie I guess.
"I came round the last corner in fifth position, so I had to go then or it would be too late, so it was a really long sprint, but I could hold it until the end."
Giro Rosa 2018, stage three: Corbetta to Corbetta (132km)
1 Jolien D'Hoore (Bel) Mitchelton - Scott, in 3-15-47
2 Kirsten Wild (Wiggle - High5)
3 Alexis Ryan (Canyon - SRAM)
4 Leah Kirchmann (Ned) Team Sunweb
5 Girogio Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle High5, all same time
General classification after stage three
1 Leah Kirchmann (Ned) Team Sunweb, in 6-56-07
2 Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 5s
3 Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Team Sunweb, at 9s
4 Ruth Winder (USA) Team Sunweb, at same time
5 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 10s
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