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Lotte Kopecky has consistently landed herself in the top ten of this year’s Giro Rosa. Sixth on stage three, second on stage five, third on stage six, and finally, on stage seven the Lotto Soudal Ladies team rider took her first victory of the race.
Second on the day was Lizzie Diegnan of Trek-Segafredo and third went to Canyon//SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma, who sits second on the general classification.
With a little over a kilometer to go to the finish, a large crash impacted the race significantly. The race leader, Annemiek van Vleuten, as well as her Mitchelton-Scott teammate Amanda Spratt, were taken down, along with a handful of other riders, including Marianne Vos. The race leader was quick to jump back on her bike but unable to hold her handlebars with her left hand. Van Vleuten and Spratt were taken immediately to the hospital to assess their injuries.
“I don’t know exactly what happened,” Vos said after the finish. “I was one of the first to crash. The girls in front of me touched wheels and then it was down like dominoes.”
A few hours after the stage Mitchelton-Scott announced that Van Vleuten had indeed sustained a broken left wrist and would be returning to Holland for surgery, while Amanda Spratt did not break any bones, it was determined later that the Australian national champion had sustained a concussion.
With neither of the Mitchelton-Scott riders able to start stage eight, Canyon//SRAM’s Kasia Niewiadoma will wear the pink jersey on the decisive penultimate stage.
How it happened
The 112-kilometer stage set out from Nola, a town within the Metropolitan City of Naples, and where Marianne Vos of CCC-Liv took her third stage victory of the Giro Rosa this year.
After two days in a row of failed breakaways, the peloton was willing to allow two escapees off the front, Silvia Zinardi (BePink) and Ainara Elbusto (Cronos Casa Dorada Women Cycling). The two started their break only three kilometers into the race, and within five kilometers had over a minute clear of the peloton.
The pair had a maximum advantage of over four minutes, however, with 67-kilometers to go, as the race approached the final circuits of the day, the peloton gained momentum and the gap started to fall.
It was then that three riders set out to bridge the gap to Zinardi and Elbusto. Alison Jackson of Team Sunweb, Aude Biannic of Movistar, and the solo escape artist of stage six Mariia Novolodskaia of Cogeas Mettler Pro Cycling Team.
Twenty kilometers later the two breakaways merged, with a two minute lead on the chasing peloton.
Novolodskaia, who was solo with two kilometers to go on stage six and crashed in a corner, quickly being passed by the peloton, was the first of the leading five to attack her breakaway companions. On the first ascent of the climb to the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo, Novolodskaia had almost a minute and a half over the peloton, but the gap went down rapidly once the peloton hit the slopes of the third categorie climb. On the second ascent of the climb, the peloton caught the lone leader.
The 6% gradient slopes of the climb to the Sanctuary of San Michele Arcangelo allowed a group to form with many of the race favorites, led by Elisa Longo Borghini of Trek-Segafredo who tried to win in a similar style on stage 5. Race leader Annemiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton-Scott, Boels-Dolmans riders Anna van der Breggen and Amy Pieters, CCC-Liv’s Marianne Vos, the leader of the Queen of the Mountains classification Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Team Sunweb’s Liane Lippert followed Longo Borghini. They were joined by a chasing group on the descent, and as the leaders approached the finish, attacks flew.
It came down to a reduced bunch sprint, in the end, won by Lotte Kopecky on the cobbled streets of Maddaloni, followed by Lizzie Diegnan and Kasia Niewiadoma.
“I knew if I was there in the final I had a big shot at the win,” Kopecky said after the stage had ended. “it’s incredible, a second and a third-place, I knew I was in good shape but I couldn’t finish it off.”
The penultimate stage of the Giro Rosa is the next test, and it is sure to see changes in the general classification with a mountain top finish after 91-kilometers of racing.
1. Lotte Kopecky LSL, 2:52:12
2. Lizzie Diegnan TSF, +0:02
3. Kasia Niewiadoma CSR, +0:03
4. Marta Cavalli VAL, st
5. Anna van der Breggen DLT, st
6. Soraya Paladin CCC, st
7. Ane Santesteban WNT, st
8. Liane Lippert SUN, st
9. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio CCC, st
10. Floortje Mackaij SUN, st
1. Annemiek van Vleuten MLT
2. Katarzyna Niewiadoma CSR, +1:48
3. Anna van der Breggen DLT, +2:03
4. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig FDJ, +3:03
5. Mikayla Harvey EPK, 4:21
6. Elisa Longo Borghini TSF, +4:32
7. Ashleigh Moolman Pasio CCC, +4:34
8. Mavi García ALE, +4:38
9. Marianne Vos CCC, +5:02
10. Elizabeth Banks EPK, +5:56