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by Jessi Braverman
July 12, 2015
Photography by Balint Hamvas
WOMEN'S CYCLING BROUGHT TO YOU BY ORBEA
Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) produced a commanding performance on the stage eight individual time trial at the Giro Rosa on Saturday. The Dutch national time trial champion stopped the clock at 36:05 following the 21.7 kilometre effort, 1:03 faster than pink jersey wearer Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans). Ashleigh Moolman (Bigla) was third quickest over the lumpy effort with a time of 1:16.
“Anything can happen in this Giro and the level is very high,” said van der Breggen in a team statement. “Pink is a dream, and I savoured every moment today. But it comes down to Sunday. Fortunately I have a very strong team with me. I’m going to do everything I can.”
Guarnier has worn the maglia rosa since the second stage of the Italian Grand Tour. The American won stage two and pulled on pink – and has held tight to it throughout the week. On Saturday, van der Breggen’s stage win catapulted her to the top spot on the general classification by 46 seconds over Guarnier. Moolman, who started the day second overall, drops down one spot to third place in 1:15.
“That was the time trial of my life, and I couldn’t have asked any more from myself,” said Guarnier. “It doesn’t take away the disappointment of losing the jersey today though.”
The Giro Rosa stage eight time trial was no ordinary race of truth. Set just west of Lago Maggiore, the route included technical descents, hairpin turns and 450 metres of climbing – most of which came during the first half of the course. The top five overall were separated by only 36 seconds before the start of the penultimate stage.
Carmen Small (Bigla) set the early fast time, clocking in at 39:26. Small’s teammate Clara Koppenberg was the next to assume the proverbial hot seat. Australia’s Katrin Garfoot (Orica-AIS) displaced Koppenberg and remained atop the leader’s board for nearly 30 minutes until the last six riders came home.
Third from last to start, van der Breggen powered out of the start house and over the early technical features on her road bike. Atop the four kilometre climb in the first half of the course, van der Breggen made the planned bike change, taking her time trial bike from her team mechanic.
“I’m incredibly proud of the girls,” said Rabo Liv sport director Koos Moerenhout in a team statement. “A time trial does not lie and almost the entire team made it in the top sixteen. A great result. Anna grabbed pink brilliantly, but credit also goes to the way the team has been riding these past days. The other riders have ensured that Anna could strike today. ”
The win in Nebbiuno is van der Breggen’s first Giro Rosa stage win – and her first stint in pink. The 25-year-old finished in third place overall last year behind teammates Marianne Vos and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot.
“The form is good,” said van der Breggen. “The trust also. But we are not there yet. The girls behind me are excellent riders. I cannot underestimate them. I have a great team with me – that’s been proven in recent days. I am also happy that I was able to give something back in the form of a stage victory today and grabbing the pink. Confidence in the team is great. I know the final climb on Sunday well. It suits me. I’m really going to do everything I can. This dream should have a beautiful ending.”
Van der Breggen crashed out of the team time trial at the Road World Championships last year with a broken hip. She returned to racing at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and won the European season opener. The victories continued from there with the prologue and a road stage at the EnergieWacht Tour and her first World Cup victory in April at Flèche Wallonne. In May, van der Breggen won the prologue and overall at Elsy Jacobs. She time trialled to her first Dutch national title in June.
The route that will be used for the final stage of the Giro Rosa on Sunday is nearly identical to the last year’s stage eight won by Emma Pooley. The stage is all about the summit finish, which comes 92.7km following the start in Verbania. The category one climbs to San Domenico di Varzo rises 1000 metres over 13 kilometres. As always, we recommend the Velofocus stage previews for detailed stage information included stage maps and profiles.
Note: Stay tuned for comments from Anna van der Breggen.
Giro Rosa stories and reports you don’t want to miss:
Expect in-depth, varied coverage of each and every Giro Rosa stage on Ella CyclingTips. We will have daily race reports within an hour of each stage finish, full results and daily diaries from Australians Tiffany Cromwell (Velocio-SRAM) and Lizzie Williams (Orica-AIS). Also check out Ella on Instagram for our #TiffTakeover.
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