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The 28th edition of the Giro Rosa was once again a celebration of women’s cycling. As the only remaining Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, it had been a big target for many teams and riders.
Boels-Dolmans lined up with two previous winners of the race, Anna van der Breggen (2015 winner) and defending winner Megan Guarnier. The Dutch-registered team took control over the race from the stage one team time trial, getting their Canadian time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel this year’s first pink jersey.
Van der Breggen took over the jersey with her stage two attack, never to hand it off again. Boels-Dolmans finished their successful 2017 Giro Rosa with another stage win, Megan Guarnier taking the final stage. With Van der Breggen rolling over the finish line just ahead of her, she secured the pink jersey and is your 2017 Giro Rosa winner.
Read up on the thrilling last stage of this 10-day Italian stage race. If you missed the earlier stages of the Giro Rosa, you can catch up on all the action here:
Giro Rosa round-up: stage ten
The 2017 Giro Rosa has been a gruelling edition. With less elevation gain than in previous years, on paper, the 2017 event didn’t appear to be all that tough (in relative terms), but the continuous high-paced racing and high temperatures have made it a very hard two weeks for everyone.
It wasn’t a surprise then that some riders had to let the peloton go in the first of the nine opening laps. After those nine laps, the final lap was probably going to determine both the stage win and the GC win, with the Mount Vesuvius as the last obstacle in the 2017 Giro Rosa.
The pace was high right from kilometre zero. Lots of action at the front of the peloton, as it was the last chance for riders and teams to show themselves in women’s cycling only remaining Grand Tour – and the last chance for a stage win. Cylance Pro Cycling sent their sprinter Kirsten Wild off the front, who was joined by Aude Biannic (FDJ-Futuroscope-NA). The duo gained 25 seconds at the end of the second lap.
A reshuffle at the end of the third lap saw Wild and Biannic back in the bunch and a 10-rider lead group that included Floortje Mackaij (Team Sunweb), Christina Siggaard (VéloConcept), Marta Tagliaferro (Cylance Pro Cycling) and Julie Leth (Wiggle-High5). The race averaged over 43 kilometres an hour at this point.
However, at the end of the fourth lap, there had been another change in the race situation. An eight-rider group was now leading the race. It was a strong group containing a lot of sprinters, like Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini), Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla), Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) and Alexis Ryan (Canyon-SRAM). Cylance Pro Cycling once again placed a rider in the front group, this time in the person of Malgorzata Jasinska.
With no threat to the GC, the group got an advantage of 1’26”. Stage nine winner Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini), highly motivated after delivering Italy its first stage win this Giro Rosa yesterday, tried to bridge to the front group in support of team leader Hosking.
With the gap between the leaders and the peloton growing to 2’20”, some riders were afraid to have missed the race-winning move and attacked from the peloton. They bridged to Bastianelli, who was surely happy to get some company. A 10-rider chase group was hunting down the leaders.
As the lead group contested the intermediate sprint, won by Lepistö ahead of Silvia Valsecchi (BePink-Cogeas) and Jasinska, the chasers came to within one-and-a-half minute of the leaders. The gap went down a little more, but as it reached the one minute mark, the chasers were reeled in by the peloton.
The final lap, including the climb up Mount Vesuvio, was fast approaching and it seemed like the GC contenders had something up their sleeve as they just flew towards the leaders. Just after the start of the bell lap, the peloton caught them and it was gruppo compatto.
As expected, the peloton splintered on the climb. The bunch was thinned out dramatically and a lead group formed that contained the top seven in the GC: Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans), Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott), Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb), Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott) and Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3).
Van Vleuten crossed the top first and secured the QOM classification, taking home the green jersey.
On the descent to the finish, Van der Breggen attacked her rivals, confirming that she was also after the stage win today. It seemed that the group came together in the run-in to the line though, as it was defending Giro Rosa winner Guarnier who won the final stage, ahead of Spratt and Niewiadoma.
Boels-Dolmans finishes off the 2017 Giro Rosa with double success, taking the stage win as well as the GC: Anna van der Breggen repeats her 2015 win and is your 2017 Giro Rosa winner!
“For me the most important thing was to come away with two stage wins,” said points and QOM jersey winner Van Vleuten. “Third on GC is nice and to win two jersey’s is also nice, but winning is the best thing for me, I always want to win.”
“I am really proud of that and this is my first attempt to go for the GC,” she added. “Our team was really good this week and I am really proud of what we achieved and how we prepared for the race. Both myself and Spratt were racing on another level this race, I think this has really inspired us to come back and target the GC again, not only us two but the whole team.”
“If you told me before I would win two stages, finish third on GC and be going for the win, I wouldn’t have believed it,” she concluded.
With her thirteenth place finish in the final stage, crossing the line in the second group together with her main rival Nicola Noskova (BePink-Cogeas), Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla) secured her win in the white young rider jersey,
“It’s been an overwhelming season,” she said. “I didn’t expect this at all. It’s a pleasant surprise because the main goal for this year is to learn and gain more experience as a cyclist. I still believe that’s the goal for the long-term and we’re working hard on it. It’s going in the right direction.”
“We didn’t have the best start with Lotta’s puncture in the team time trial and Ashleigh getting sick early, Uttrup added. “I think we bounced back and it’s nice to finish the Giro in this way. I think the whole team is proud of how we turned things around.”
Stage 10 results:
- Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
- Amanda Spratt (Orica-Scott)
- Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Pro Cycling)
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
- Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
- Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb)
- Arlenis Sierre (Astana)
- Janneke Ensing (Alé Cipollini)
- Romy Kasper (Alé Cipollini)
Pink leader’s jersey: Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
Purple points jersey: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
Green Queen of the Mountain jersey: Annemiek van Vleuten (Orica-Scott)
White young rider jersey: Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla)
Blue best Italian rider jersey: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5)
Team classification: Boels-Dolmans
What was your favourite stage in the 2017 Giro Rosa?