By Owen Rogers
Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) took control of the Giro d’Italia Femminile yesterday, sprinting clear of Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec Products) to win the first road stage in Santa Maria a Vico.
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Vos, her team mate Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Longo-Borghini escaped with about eight kilometres to ride. The World Champion’s margin of victory means she takes the leader’s pink jersey from team mate Annemiek Van Vleuten.
Van Vleuten had been in the break with Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products), the pair building a lead of 1 minute 20 with four of the 8.6km laps remaining. Both Specialized Lululemon and Boels-Dolmans began the chase, but it was Rabo-Liv, clearly doubting Van Vleuten’s finish, who brought the escapees to heel.
The race consisted of 11 laps of a technical circuit around the town, but an 1800 metre climb averaging 10%, this was no normal criterium. The peloton fractured on each ascent, proving the climb decisive.
Despite a sting challenge from Hitec Products, Rabo-Liv were able to dictate the race. The Dutch team’s dominance may have been more complete had in form Anna van der Breggen not crashed on the tricky descent.
“Today was a war of attrition,” Rabo-Liv directeur sportif Koos Moerenhout said after the race. “Towards the end there were still seven riders from our team in the peloton, that’s a good average. It was a difficult, dangerous day, with narrow roads and a technical descent. But the result is perfect.”
Of the British riders Sharon Laws (United Healthcare) was first to finish, four minutes down. Laws’s team mate and defending champion, Mara Abbott occupies 11th position, 2-10 behind Vos.
The peloton remain in the Naples area for stage two, a 120 km day around the town of Frattamaggiore – perfect for a sprint.
Giro d’Italia Femminile, stage one
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in 2-42-03
2. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec Products) at 4 secs
3. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) at 5 secs
4. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) at 1-20
5. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
6. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
7. Emma Johanson (Orica-AIS)
8. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products)
9. Mara Abbott (United Healthcare) at 1-24
10. Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) at same time
Overall classification after stage one
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) in 2-44-20
2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) at 15 secs
4. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) at 1-36
5. Ashleigh Moolman (Hitec Products) at 1-42
6. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) at 1-42
7. Emma Johanson (Orica-AIS) at 1-44
8. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) at 1-44
9. Audrey Cordon (Hitec Products) at 1-55
10. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv) at 2-06