Marianne Vos won yet another stage at the Giro Donne on Saturday, winning the stage three bunch kick in Olbia.
Though yesterday’s winner Elisa Balsamo is hugely versatile, she was unable to match the Jumbo-Visma rider on the slight uphill kick to the line. Balsamo retained her overall lead, finishing third on the day, while DSM’s newest sprint talent Charlotte Kool was second.
The run into the finish was incredibly fast, Valcar Travel and Service and Jumbo-Visma stretching the bunch, but when one rider from each of those teams slipped off the front the speed dropped and the lead in became chaotic.
Movistar eventually wrested control with three women on the front, including overall favourite Annemiek van Vleuten, but sprinter Emma Berg was too far back and they were forced knock the pace off. By the time the Dane was in position other teams were lurking
One of those was Jumbo-Visma, Vos on the wheel of a team mate and perfectly positioned. Movistar led into the final straight, but it was Vos who opened her sprint first, 200m from the line, with no one able to get past her, though compatriot Kool came close.
Vos has a remarkable record at the Giro, not only does she now have 31 stage victories but the 35 year-old has won the GC three times. While that may now be beyond her, she has other chances in the remaining seven stages in Italy.
The riders left Olbia as soon as they could, heading to the airport to fly to Forli on the Italian mainland for Monday’s fourth stage. Then they will ride a hilly 120.9km starting and finishing in Cesena. With three classified climbs and another less severe ( 2.8km at 7%) ascent coming only 10km from the line, a bunch kick is unlikely.
How it happened
The Giro Donne’s journey up the east coast of Sardinia continued on Saturday with stage three, a flat 113.4km between Dorgali and Olbia, where, after the stage race vehicles would take a ferry to the mainland.
After forming up in the pretty seaside village of Cala Gonone, the opening 21km from Dorgali were almost completely downhill allowing little opportunity for a breakaway to form. There were some keen to try though, but none of those early attacks made any ground until, with 15km ridden, Victoire Berteau (Cofidis) got a gap on one of the few uphill ramps.
The 21 year-old was never likely to make too impact, the heat and a slight headwind stifling her ambition, but after 15km alone off the front her lead began to drop. This attracted attention from pursuers, with three trying to bridge, a move which, in turn attracted the peloton, who closed them and Berteau down with 35km ridden.
The race was never likely to progress without a breakaway though, especially with he small Italian teams hungry for publicity, and sure enough three more women got away, Markets Hájkova (BePink), Asia Zotone (Isolmant-Premac-Vittoria) and Alice Palazzi (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) escaped, only to be chased by three others.
That chasing group were caught only for another eight women to get a few seconds up the road.
Gemma Sernissi Giulia Marchesini (Aromitalia-Basso-Vaiano), Giorgia Vettorello (BePink) Lucía Gonzalez (Bizkaia-Durango), Jennifer Ducaura (Colombia Tierra de Atletas GW-Shimano), Katia Ragusa (Liv-Xstra) Alessia Missiaggia (Mendelspeck) and Alessia Vigilia (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) managed too get within one minute of the leaders, with the bunch’s deficit stretching to more than three minutes. However, as on stage two, as the race slipped inside the closing 40km the Trek-Segafredo team of race leader Elisa Balsamo came to the front to control and reduce the gap.
Meanwhile, the chasers were closing in on the front of the race, and as they fell apart some of them caught the leaders before the 15km to go mark, forming a group of five at the front, but, by then the bunch were less than a minute behind.
In the peloton Trek-Segafredo had been joined by Valcar Travel and Service, BikeExchange-Jayco and the Jumbo-Visma team of Marianne Vos.
With the break away constantly eroded, only two remained when the peloton swept them up with only 6.8km to go. It was then time for the sprint trains to take control, Jumbo-Visma and Valcar Travel and Service doing much of the work.
Result Giro Donne, stage 3: Dorgali - Olbia (113.4km)
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma in 2-48-22
2. Charlotte Kool (Ned) DSM
3. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
4. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv-Xstra
5. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ
6. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx
7. Emma Bjerg (Den) Movistar
8. Silvia Zanardi (Ita) BePink
9. Georgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco
10. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service all at same time
General classification after stage 3
1. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 5-33-12
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 06 sec
3. Georgia Baker (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 12 sec
4. Kristen Faulkner (Aus) BikeExchange-Jayco at 14 sec
5. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SDWorx at same time
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 17 sec
7. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Movistar at 18 sec
8. Charlotte Kool (Ned) DSM at 19 sec
9. Emma Bjerg (Den) Movistar at 20 sec
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at 27 sec
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