Marianne Vos took her second consecutive Giro Rosa stage win on Sunday, out sprinting Australian Lucy Kennedy, passing her on the line. The win was not as straightforward as her stage two success as she came from a distance to catch lone leader Kennedy, who celebrated too early.
Kennedy had broken away from what was left of the peloton on the final climb to Piedicavallo, around two kilometres from the finish, and looked set for the win. Vos though, was carrying huge speed and snatched the victory from the Australian, for whom the win would have been a first Women’s WorldTour success.
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The race had broken up before the final climb as the bunch chased down Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) who had attacked 50km out. When she was finally caught, as the race closed in on the final 12km, Trek-Segafredo’s Tayler Wiles tried her luck, and built a lead approaching one minute as the final climb began to steepen.
The American was slowly closed down though, with the Canyon-SRAM team of race leader Kasia Niewiadoma doing much of the work. Inside the final two kilometres, with the American within striking distance, Kennedy launched her ill-fated her effort.
How it happened
The third uphill finish of the three stages so far at this year’s Giro Rosa, the 104.1km race between Sagliano Micca and Piedicavallo began quietly, the race rolling through tight, technical roads that were generally downhill.
Once the peloton reached the flatter section at the bottom of a large opening loop, a split in the race emerged with the peloton leading some 16 riders how had been dropped.
With the race settling into a rhythm, those in the bunch took time to collect bottles under the searing sun which bleached the flat lands north-east of Turin, and the group behind managed to stabilise their deficit at around 2-30.
As the race wore on, with the bunch taking it relatively easily in anticipation of the tough finish, the chaser’s deficit began to shrink.
With the remaining distance dropping below 50km and the route becoming increasingly hilly, the race suddenly burst into life with Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana) attacking and building a lead of around a minute.
Behind, two riders tried to chase her but despite leading the bunch briefly by 40 seconds they were caught by a peloton wary of the collective strength had the three come together.
Despite the newly crowned Slovenian champion beginning the day nearly three minutes down on the overall race lead, the peloton were not happy with Bujak building any significant advantage, allowing her a gap of only a minute and a half as she approached the intermediate sprint 25km from the line.
With the sprint behind them, Bujak’s gap then began to tumble and the Slovenian was eventually caught and dropped as the action took place on the final climb.
Kennedy attacked up the incline to the finish, celebrating as she approached the line, allowing Vos to sneak through and snatch victory.
While Kennedy was initially upset at her mistake, she was remarkably sanguine after the race. Behind the podium, Vos apologised to the Australian before congratulating her on the ride.
“Lucy had a great attack and she had a good lead,” Vos said afterwards. “She was on the cobbles and there were only two lines we could take in between the cobbles, she was on the right side, I was on the left and I had slightly more speed, so she put her arm in the air and I came around in the last five metres, so for her that was pretty sad. I told her not to do that again.
“It looked like we were going to be sprinting for second, but at about 200- 220 metres to go I just thought ‘let’s see how far I can get.’ It was hard and the last 100 metres I actually don’t know what happened.”
Giro Rosa Iccrea: Stage three, Sagliano Micca to Piedicavallo (104.1km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv in 2-49-11
2. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla
4. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott
5. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb
7. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé-Cipollini
8. Ane Santesteban (Esp) WNT-Rotor
9. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT-Rotor all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM in 5-36-48
2. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla at 20 seconds
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv at 25s
4. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM at 40s
5. Omer Shapira (Isr) Canyon-SRAM at 45s
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at same time
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott at 47s
8. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 52s
9. Lucy Kennedy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 59s
10. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 1-04