Giro Rosa stage 6: Lotta Lepistö wins hot and hard-fought stage
In its 28th edition, the Giro Rosa is once again a celebration of women’s cycling. As the only remaining Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, it’s a big target for many teams and riders.
Every day, there’s not just the fight for the stage win, but the battle for the pink jersey and GC positions too. It will remain an interesting fight, all the way to Torre del Greco on Sunday July 9.
The sixth stage in the 2017 Giro Rosa finished in a bunch sprint, the third one this week. After a victory for Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) and Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle-High5), this time it was Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) who could post up for the win. Read as we’ll be providing you with all the best shots from the stage and highlight videos as we come across them.
Missed the earlier stages of the Giro Rosa? Read our Giro Rosa round-ups of:
Giro Rosa Round-up: stage six
After two surprise climbs in yesterday’s epic stage five individual time trial, the Giro Rosa road book had another trick up its sleeve for stage six. Valentina Scandolara (WM3 Pro Cycling) showed us the difference between the road book profile and the actual profile of the lap, again offering some steep climbs.
Looks like a walk in the park indeed! pic.twitter.com/GdylHl57zH
— Valentina Scandolara (@ValeScandolara) 5 juli 2017
The blistering heat didn’t make today’s circumstances any easier, promising a tough day in the saddle.
Right from the start, Boels-Dolmans took control over the peloton. Any breakaway attempts in the early parts of the stage were brought back by the Dutch-registered team. Even the pink jersey wearer herself, Anna van der Breggen, at one point went to the front of the peloton to bring back some escapees.
It meant the peloton stayed together for all of the first half of the race and crossed the finish line with two of four laps to go in one big bunch. The third lap contained both the intermediate sprint and the QOM climb, so surely there was going to be more action from this point onwards.
And indeed there was. Claudia Koster (VéloConcept Women), the very first attacker in the 2017 Giro Rosa, had a brief stint off the front, followed by Alison Jackson (BePink-Cogeas), who took the maximum number of points at the intermediate sprint, ahead of Janneke Ensing (Alé Cipollini) and Dani King (Cylance Pro Cycling) in the peloton.
Meanwhile, race radio reported that Canyon-SRAM’s Leah Thorvilson abandoned, which means the team is now three riders down. Tiffany Cromwell didn’t take to the start two days ago to focus on the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour, while Trixi Worrack didn’t line up for yesterday’s individual time trial.
As the race arrived at the foot of the climb, with QOM points up for grabs at the top this time, Jackson was caught by the peloton. The average speed reached over 40km/h, an incredibly fast race with the scorching heat.
There were attacks flying on the climb, making the race even tougher.
Stage three winner Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) crossed the top first, taking the maximum QOM points, followed by Sorayah Paladin (Alé Cipollini) and Sofia Bertizollo (Astana).
The trio crossed the top with a short gap to the rest of the bunch and started their descent together. The chase in the peloton led to a crash on the descent, at least Sarah Roy (Orica-Scott) going down. We hope to hear how she’s doing in the Orica-Scott Backstage Pass of today’s stage.
Barnes, Paladin and Bertizollo managed to reach a maximum advantage of 48 seconds.
Slowly but surely the gap went down though. With the sprinter teams looking for a stage win in the last flattish stage of the week, the three up front didn’t stand a chance. At 10 kilometres from the line, they were caught.
It didn’t mean the end of the attacks though. Surely a number of teams without a sprinter on board were hoping to prevent a bunch sprint. The little climb at only a handful of kilometres from the finish line could prove a perfect launchpad for a late race attack. The tension in the peloton was high.
But the stakes were too high. The last five nervous kilometres of the stage eventually didn’t see anyone getting off the front anymore, the sprinter teams controlling at the front. Wiggle-High5, Team Sunweb and Cervélo-Bigla all got their sprinters ready for their jump to the line.
The lightning fast finale had left only a 25-30 rider group to contest the stage win. The fastest out of them turned out to be Finnish sprinter Lotta Lepistö, who dismissed Rivera and Bronzini to second and third place.
It’s a positive twist for Cervélo-Bigla’s Giro Rosa campaign, after they lost their GC contender Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio on Sunday due to illness.
— Cervélo Bigla (@CerveloBigla) July 5, 2017
“It was a very hot stage and the race was fast which made it hard,” Lepistö looked back on the stage. “We did the circuit four times but despite it being so hard, I was feeling good. Thomas [Campana, DS] said this was the perfect stage for us. I trusted and believed that, despite the climbs.”
“It was good to do loops because we knew the finish well in the end,” she said. “I was in position 30 going up the climb the last time, but I gave it all on the descent and ended up in position two at the bottom of the descent, getting into a good position for the sprint.”
“It has been a frustrating Giro for us with Ashleigh getting sick, and losing time when I punctured in the TTT,” Lepistö added. “We also missed the first group on stage four which wasn’t a good performance from us. We came together as a team and wanted to turn things around, so we stayed positive and kept believing.”
Rivera commented after her second podium place this week: “It was a stage well suited to my strengths and the team did well getting together to go for the win today. In the final, I had Lucinda [Brand] as my right-hand woman for the final straight. It was a clean lead-out but I just got rolled at the line. It’s great to be on the podium again, but it only makes us more hungry for a win.”
Van der Breggen finished safely in the bunch and even took three seconds on her main rivals Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), being on the right side of a small gap in the bunch.
Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (2.WWT) Roseto degli Abruzzi → Roseto degli Abruzzi
VAN DER BREGGEN Anna
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team
Stage seven information
Stage seven: Thursday July 6
Isernia – Baronissi
Back into the mountains in stage seven of the Giro Rosa. It’s the longest of the stages and as you can see it goes up and down the entire stage. The intermediate sprint point and QOM are only ten kilometers apart, so the fight for two jerseys is concentrated mid-stage.
This could be a day for a breakaway, or maybe the GC contenders are going to try to reshuffle the GC.
Jersey wearers going into stage seven
Pink leader’s jersey: Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
Purple points jersey: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
Green Queen of the Mountain jersey: Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), wearing it for Van Vleuten
White young rider jersey: Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb)
Blue best Italian rider jersey: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Check back tomorrow for the Giro Rosa Round-up of stage seven!