For the first time in many years the hilly race in the Italian lakes finished with a large group contesting the finish, and 26-year-old King found herself boxed in with around 500 metres to go.
“Unfortunately I lost my nerve a little bit,” she told Cycling Weekly after the race. “It was more my head than my legs, which is a good and a bad thing because it’s frustrating it wasn’t my legs, but good that was because I’ve got good form.”
Sunday was King’s second participation in the race which took the peloton over a number of significant climbs near the shores of Lake Maggiore, and she was pleased with her progression from last year’s race.
“My form is better than last year, I was almost hanging on for grim death on the long climb because I was in a chase group, and that was something I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing this year. Then [climber] Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie) attacked on the last climb and I managed to to hold on to that.
Watch: Dani King, toughest day
“There was quite a small group going over the top, and then a few riders got back on before the end.”
After losing her place on the Great Britain track squad, last season was King’s first full year on the road.
It was also her third year with Wiggle-High5 where she rode as a domestique. Despite that support role she achieved some excellent results in 2016, finishing in the top-30 more often than not and bagging 11th in a WorldTour race in Sweden last August. Still her best placing in a top tier event.
She already has to top-10 places to her name in lesser ranked events this year, and Sunday’s finish went one better than at Strade Bianche, her only other WorldTour start of the current season.
Along with Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild, King’s move to Cylance Pro Cycling over the winter is part of the American team’s push for better results at the top table of of women’s cycling. It is also her first chance to lead a team.
While she was one of three options for the team at Sunday’s race, she was the only rider from Cylance to make the front group.
“I should have been higher than I was,” she continued.
“Obviously I lost my nerve, but I was there which is good. I can get over the climbs, so something like Flèche Wallonne would be a good target, but you have to have some luck in races like that, they’re carnage races, but if it all goes my way there is no reason why I can’t get a result.”