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Now in its 28th edition, the Giro Rosa is the biggest celebration of women’s cycling on the calendar. With 10 days of hard racing, the Giro Rosa is the only remaining Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, and the win comes with a lot of prestige.
Only two more stages separated Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) from winning her second Giro Rosa going into the final weekend.
Stage nine was an elimination race right from the start, until only a 50-rider group was left at the front after all the climbing was done. A three-rider breakaway was caught just before the line and Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) sprinted to the win in the reduced bunch, delivering Italy its first stage win this Giro Rosa.
Missed the earlier stages of the Giro Rosa? Read our Giro Rosa round-ups of:
Claudia Cretti stable, but still in ICU
As the battle for pink rages on, the global women’s cycling community kept Claudia Cretti in their thoughts. After her horrific crash, Cretti has been fighting for her life. Latest reports say that at 48 hours after Cretti suffered her head injury, her general medical condition remains unchanged. She remains in intensive care but appears to be stable.
Pink jersey wearer Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) described the feeling fittingly when she tweeted:
— Anna van der Breggen (@AnnavdBreggen) 7 juli 2017
Support for Cretti and her family have been expressed both in Italy and abroad, once again showing how tight-knit the Italian cycling community is.
— Coreen Mazzocchi (@mazzok) 8 juli 2017
— ELIA VIVIANI (@eliaviviani) 7 juli 2017
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla), who abandoned the Giro Rosa earlier this week, also sent some comforting thoughts via her Twitter account.
As surviver of serious head trauma myself, I know that anything is possible! The brain is an incredible organ! Let’s pray for full recovery
— Ashleigh Moolman (@ashleighcycling) 7 juli 2017
The editorial staff of CyclingTips continue to keep Cretti and her family in our thoughts.
Giro Rosa Round-up: stage nine
After eight days of brutally hard racing, the closing weekend of the 2017 Giro Rosa does not offer any relief for the tired legs of the riders.
Stage nine was labelled a ‘flattish’ stage in the 2017 Giro Rosa previews, but by now everyone in the peloton was well aware of the difference between stage profiles in the road book and the actual course profile. The difficulty in stage nine lay at the start, the route climbing from 40 to 550 metres of elevation in the first half of the stage.
Any sprinters surviving the undulating first half of the stage would have a good chance to fight for a stage victory as the rest of the route was ever so slightly downhill. But, the sprinters had to make it past the QOM climb at the 77.7-kilometre mark first.
Feeling the past week of racing in their legs, riders started to get dropped on the first ascent of the day. Boels-Dolmans took control at the front of the peloton, protecting their pink jersey wearer Anna van der Breggen by setting a firm pace and controlling any breakaway attempts that could be dangerous for the GC.
A peloton of around 60 riders passed the second, uncategorized climb of the day and some big-name sprinters were notably missing from that group. Jolien D’Hoore (Wiggle-High5), Barbara Guarischi (Canyon-SRAM), Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) and Kirsten Wild (Cylance Pro Cycling) were all reported off the back of the peloton.
The first serious breakaway attempt formed at 50 kilometres into the race. It was a strong group of seven riders, including Sofia Bertizzolo (Astana), Elena Cecchini (Canyon-SRAM), Simona Frapporti (Team Hitec), Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb), Ana Covrig (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo), Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Wiggle-High5) and Dani King (Cylance Pro Cycling).
The best-placed rider out of this group was Cecchini at 8’47” from Van der Breggen and therefore, there was no immediate danger to the pink jersey. Still, the peloton wasn’t content to let these riders go and they were caught seven kilometres later.
Break or bunch sprint?
Orica-Scott has been very clear in their objectives since the start, only really interested in the pink jersey and not aiming specifically for any other classification jerseys. Still, so close to bringing it home, Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) fought for the QOM points and crossed the top of the QOM-climb first, strengthening her lead in the Queen of the Mountains classification. Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) followed behind her.
The intermediate sprint, with important bonus seconds up for grabs, followed within 15 kilometres. With all climbing done for the day, the winner would come out of the 50-rider group that was first up the road at this point.
Malgorzata Jasinska (Cylance Pro Cycling), Lauren Kitchen (WM3 Pro Cycling) and Anna Trevisi (Alé Cipollini) had escaped the peloton just ahead of the intermediate sprint point and took both the points and bonus seconds. With a trio up the road, it meant no bonus seconds would be left for Longo Borghini or Van Vleuten, so Boels-Dolmans was happy to let them go.
The trio gained an advantage of around a minute as they entered the final 25 kilometres. The UCI WWT live Twitter feed reported that the final would be technical, through narrow streets. That’s usually in favour of a break, and with no threat whatsoever to the GC, the three riders had a chance to make it to the line.
However, that’s not how it went. The first peloton slowly closed in on the break and as the kilometres ticked down, so did the advantage. The three riders were caught within the last 3 kilometres and a reduced bunch sprint would determine the winner of the stage.
Although their designated sprinter Hosking was already dropped earlier in the stage, Alé Cipollini had another rider to contest the stage win. Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) crossed the line first, and delivered her Italian team and her home country their first stage win this Giro Rosa.
Finnish road champion Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) had survived the climbs in the first section of the stage and was close to repeating her stage six win, but she just came short. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) took her second podium place this week, slotting into third place.
“I wasn’t sure if I would survive the climbs in the beginning of the stage, because a lot of other sprinters were dropped,” said Lepistö. “But I luckily survived. Then I started thinking of the finish.”
“Clara [Koppenburg] did an amazing lead-out for me together with Stephie [Pohl],” she said. “Lisa [Klein] brought me to 5km to go and Clara did a great job to bring the breakaway back in the headwind. It would have been nice to win again today, but the tour is turning out to be a good one for us.”
“I’ve never won anything in Italy before, so it’s nice to see that Italy likes me and has nothing against me,” she said laughing.
American sprinter Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) took her third top-five notation of the week, adding to teammate Lucinda Brand’s stage win yesterday.
“It was a really tough start to the stage where over half of the bunch was dropped, but we were still there with the whole team,” said Team Sunweb coach Adriaan Helmantel. “Throughout the day the situation was always controlled. We had Floortje in a break but it was brought back and then when another three went clear Rozanne [Slik] helped in the chase.”
“Our plan for the final was to sprint with Coryn and the team were geared up for that and put her in a good position,” he added. “Unfortunately they lost each other inside the final metres and 5th was the result. It was a really demanding day, especially with the heat, so we can be pleased with this result.”
Van der Breggen finished safely in the bunch and is now only one more stage removed from winning her second Giro Rosa.
Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (2.WWT) Palinuro → Polla
VAN DER BREGGEN Anna
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
LUDWIG Cecilie Uttrup
VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek
Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team
Stage ten information
Stage ten: Sunday July 9
Torre del Greco – Torre del Greco
The final stage in the 2017 Giro Rosa begins with nine laps on an 11.1 kilometre circuit in Torre del Greco. The final intermediate sprint point comes in lap six.
The tenth and last lap consists of 24.1 kilometres and includes the climb up the Mount Vesuvius, a climb in the second category. The final QOM points are awarded here, with only Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) still in contention to take the jersey home.
If anyone wants to keep Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) from winning the pink jersey, the Vesuvius climb is the one last place to do it, because the rest of the course isn’t challenging enough to really make a difference.
Jersey wearers going into stage ten
Pink leader’s jersey: Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
Purple points jersey: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
Green Queen of the Mountains jersey: Tetyana Riabchenko (Lensworld-Kuota), wearing it for Van Vleuten
White young rider jersey: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla)
Blue best Italian rider jersey: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Check back tomorrow for the final Giro Rosa Round-up!