Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) won her fourth stage of this year’s Giro Rosa on the tough, uphill finish of stage 10 in Udine.
In what was a chaotic final, the former world champion was paced perfectly by her CCC-Liv team-mates to the bottom of the 200 metre cobbled climb, and sprinted home ahead of compatriot Lucida Brand (Sunweb) and Belgian Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal Ladies).
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Despite the sketchy finish, behind Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) crossed the line in the bunch to win her second consecutive Giro Rosa.
Van Vleuten won the overall with two stage victories, the first at Lago di Cancano on stage five, then the following day in the individual time trial, which she left with a general classification lead of 4-17.
Though she lost slices of time during some of the ensuing days, especially stage nine where she finished second at Malga Montasio to world champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), those two stage wins in the middle of the race were enough.
How it happened
The tenth and final stage of the race began in calm style, the bunch rolling out of San Vito Al Tagliamento on flat roads, seemingly happy to enjoy the hot summer sun. With Annemiek van Vleuten in pink, Mitchelton-Scott were happy to lead the way, through maze fields, occasional vineyards and small villages, where pink balloons fluttered then burst in the heat.
With over 30km of racing done, a large group got away from the bunch. These included Brits Dani Christmas (Lotto-Soudal Ladies) who was in the break on the final stage of last year’s Giro, and stage eight winner Lizzy Banks (Bigla), but they were caught after around 10km in he lead.
Then followed a period of repeated attacks, with Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) first going clear before being caught, then Alice Gasparini (Eurotarget-Bianchi-Vittoria) getting away.
The 21-year-old was left to dangle off the front of the race for around 10km before she was finally allowed to build any sort of advantage. By the time she had raced 64 of the 120km she led bunch bunch by nearly a minute.
However, with an intermediate sprint approaching, the gap began to reduce and though Gasparini won the bonus seconds, her lead was once again just 30 seconds. With such a small gap one other rider decided to attempt to bridge to leader, but only dragged the peloton with her and Gasparini was caught, with 43km left to race.
After Banks made a second effort to get away, it was down to Alé-Cipollini to have a go, with Romy Kasper escaping off the front, though still were peloton were unhappy, chasing the German down.
With her in range Trek-Segafredo launched the newly crowned Polish time trial champion Anna Plichta off the front, and she soon caught Kasper, the pair building a lead of 1.20 just before the course began to head uphill for the day’s only classified climb.
Once again, though, the peloton were in no mood to allow anyone too much space, and as the stage entered the final 25km, they pulled escapees to within one minute, leaving them there until the climb which came with 13km to go.
Late in the piece, former French champion Aude Biannic (Movistar) attacked and was allowed 25 seconds going into the closing three kilometres, but it was to be a sprint finish with Vos’s CCC-Liv team working with Sunweb to bring the escape to heel.
Full, confirmed results to follow…
Giro Rosa 2019, stage ten: San Vito al Tagliamento to Udine – (120km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv, in 2-51-45
2. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb, at one second
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at same time
4. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé Cipollini, at 4s
5. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at same time
6. Ashleign Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv, at 6s
7. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 7s
8. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg, at 9s
9. Rasa Leleivytė (Ltu) Aromitalia Vaiano, at same time
10. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) Eurotarget Bianchi Vittoria, at 10s
General classification after stage ten
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton-Scott,in 25-01-41
2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolman, at 3-45
3. Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 6-55
4. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv, at 7-54
5. Katie Hall (USA) Boels-Dolmans, at 7-57
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at 8-03
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Sunweb, at 8-16
8. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 8-20
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita) Alé Cipollini, at 9-13
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Wnt-Rotor, at 9-31