Annemiek van Vleuten confirmed her third Giro Donne victory on Sunday, the Movistar rider finishing in the bunch after a sprint finish in Padova.
Van Vleuten took the overall lead in the heat of last Monday’s fourth stage and never looked like ceding control, extending her lead with a second win on stage eight and only losing time on the penultimate day, though by then she knew victory was assured.
The woman she lost time to was Marta Cavalli (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) rider finishing second overall, almost tow minutes down. Having been in second place since stage four, Mavi García slipped to other place on Saturday, retuning that position in the final general classification.
As predicted the final stage finishes in a bunch, with Valcar Travel and Service rider Chiara Consonni taking the honours after a long range sprint. Her Italian compatriot Rachele Barbieri (Liv-Xstra) took section place while Emma Berg (Movistar) took third, her best result of the race overall.
Fittingly given her status in the sport, Van Vleuten’s win puts her in rarified company, her three wins are only bettered by Fabiana Luperini, who won five editions between 1998 and 2008, and Anna van der Breggen with four. Alongside Van Vleuten are Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) and Swiss Nicole Brändle.
This year’s Giro was an excellent edition. The GC might have been decided on stage four, but the race provided exciting and dynamic racing throughout.
The race is often lost in the Tour de France hype, though organisers are hoping to change the date for next year’s race to avoid French event, and this gain more publicity.
How it happened
The Giro Donne has headed south again, away from the relative cool of the Alpine foot hills to Padova, at 12 metres above sea level, and into the low 30s heat once more.
With a population of 211,000 the city, close to Venice, is the biggest the race visited in this event, and the race was set to finish in Prato dell Valle, Italy’s biggest piazza and one of the largest city squares in Europe. A sign of the race’s increased prestige.
It was the shortest road stage of the week, only 90.5km, starting in Abano Terme, a few kilometres south west of the finish city, heading west for the day’s only classified climb, then looping south through Monselice, before heading north for the largely flat run to the finish.
The flag dropped and an attacks came immediately, Eva Maria Gatscher (Mendelspeck) gaining a small advantage, though she was caught ahead of the classified climb 21.7km into the race.
The race emerged from the climb split into two parts but soon regrouped before three more riders headed up the road, they too didn’t last long, and finally two more got away. Krista Doebel-Hickok (EF Education-Tibco-SVB), Alessia Vigilia (Top Girls Fassa-Bortolo) managing to build a lead of 1-30, while DSM and Trek-Segafredo led the peloton
Doebel-Hickok and Vigilia’s lead extended out to nearly two minutes at one point, but the sprinters’ teams were hungry for another, final chance of glory. As the race entered the closing 25km Canyon-SRAM and Movistar headed to the front to help and the gap finally dropped below one minute.
With the Trek-Segafredo team of double stage winner Elisa Balsamo on the front the gap dropped fast and the leader’s advantage was less than 30 seconds as they entered the race’s closing 10km, already navigating the suburbs of Padova.
With the breakaway caught at 4.4km, Balsamo was briefly separated from her leadout, only finding them with one kilometre to go, Lucinda Brand heading to the front. But the world champion remained detached and was unable to position herself correctly.
As Balsamo tried to go through the middle of the bunch, with 200m to go Rachele Barbieri (Liv-Xstra) went hard on the right, but only succeeded in leading out Chira Consonni, who came round her compatriot to take her team’s first WorldTour win of the season.
Result Giro Donne, stage 10: Abano Terme - Padova (90.5km)
1. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service in 2-12-4
2. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv-Xstra
3. Emma Bjerg (Den) Movistar
4. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
6. Karlijn Swinkels (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
7. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
8. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx
9. Martina Fidanza (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
10. Teniel Campbell (TTO) BikeExchange-Jayco all at same time
Final general classification
1. Annemiek van Veuten (Ned) Movistar in 27-07-26
2. Cavalli (Ita) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 1-52
3. Mavi García (Esp) UAE Team ADQ Marta at 5-56
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 6-45
5. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZ) SDWorx 11-12
6. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 12-22
7. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service 13-08
8. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 15-13
9. Juliette Labous (Fra) DSM at 15-49
10. Neve Bradbury (Aus) Canyon-SRAM at 17-29
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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