Marianne Vos added yet another win to her stellar palmarès, winning the second stage of the Giro Rosa Iccrea. The triple world road champion sprinted to victory on a tough uphill finish ahead of Dutch compatriots Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) and Lucinda Brand (Sunweb).
Despite a cut to her knee from a crash earlier in the day, general classification leader Kasia Niewiadoma will continue to wear the maglia rosa as the race moves into the coming eight stages.
The final 10km of the race were extremely tough, with numerous steep ramps ensuring the bunch split, leaving only the strongest at the front. As what was left of the peloton approached the closing two kilometres, a number of riders tried their luck off the front.
First van Vleuten’s team-mate Lucy Kennedy and Lotto Soudal’s Julie van der Velde gave it a dig, but they were soon brought back. Then Tayler Wiles (Trek-Segafedo) attacked, but was also caught back to allow the reduced bunch sprint, with Vos first over the line.
How it happened
Cruelly, kilometre zero of the race’s opening road stage was at the bottom of the opening classified climb, the Colle del Lis.
Thirteen kilometres in length, it was a tough start, with varying gradients and plenty of hairpins to keep the peloton happy. Trees shaded the road from the sun and though it was hot, at around 28C, it was thankfully cooler than the stage one team time trial.
On the early slopes of the climb two riders broke clear, Antri Christoforou (Cogeas-Mettler-Look) and Sofie de Vuyst (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) building a lead of over 50 seconds on a bunch taking it relatively easy.
As they approached the top, de Vuyst attacked, gaining the maximum mountains points and a consequent visit to the post-race podium as the Queen of the Mountains.
The bunch were by then closing in and the gap was eliminated on the descent, where Sunweb’s leader, Lucinda Brand got a small gap. Brand is one of the world’s top descenders but after finishing fourth overall last year, was never going to be allowed any real advantage.
Caught on the descent, the race came back together, though that was not the end of the action as the race tackled the flat run in to the final ascent.
With the bunch relaxed and taking bottles, Kelly van den Steen (Lotto-Soudal Ladies) and Romy Kasper (Alé-Cipollini) got away and were allowed the biggest lead of the day, the gap growing to 2-50 as they raced though the valley. The Belgian van den Steen taking the virtual race lead at this point, having begun the day only 2-07 down.
With the gap static, behind the peloton was led variously by Parkhotel Valkenburg, Boels-Dolmans and as the road began to rise, Mitchelton-Scott, who reeled in the escapees with around eight kilometres remaining.
Tomrrow’s third stage could be the only opportunity for the sprinters, though it is far from flat. Starting in Sagliano Micca, north east of Turin, the final 10km rises gently to the line in Piedicavallo.
Giro Rosa Iccrea: Stage 2, Viù – Viù (78.3km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv, in 2-15-26
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb
4. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
5. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Ale2-Cipollini
6. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Ane Santesteban (Esp) WNT Rotor
8. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg
9. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek Segafredo
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) WNT-Rotor all at same time
General classification after stage two
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, in 2-47-37
2. Omer Shapira (Isr) Canyon-SRAM at 12 seconds
3. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM at 19s
4. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Bigla at 24s
5. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv at 35s
6. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv at 45s
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott at 47s
8. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
9. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Bigla, both at same time
10. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott at 53s