Scandolara claims Queen of Mountains jersey, Johansson fifth overall

Mon 7 Jul 2014

Valentina Scandolara has claimed the Queen of the Mountains jersey after featuring in the winning break on stage three at the Giro Rosa this afternoon.

Finishing in the main group, Emma Johansson remains in a top five position overall.

A powerful group of fifteen escapees took off 20kms into the stage featuring representatives from all of the major teams, including Scandolara and ORICA-AIS teammate Loes Gunnewijk.

"It was the first hill top finish of the race," sport director Gene Bates said.

"We gave free reign to Valentina and Loes and a couple of others to try and get up the road to set themselves up for later in the stage to both help Emma (Johansson) and also to go for a stage result. 

"To be honest it was just a really good move for us to be part of, the first real solid breakaway of the Tour and the girls are really excited to be racing aggressively and I think we will see them more active over the coming days. 

“We didn't really discuss the mountains jersey much this morning. I mentioned to her (Valentina) before the stage that there was a possibility and she really capitalised on that when she found herself in the breakaway.

“I don't think it’s (the mountains classification) a long term goal. I think once we hit the really big mountains later in the race we will see Val slip away, but it's nice to have a jersey in the team and it's good motivation for the girls.”

Despite the prediction by many that the race would come back together, thanks to the work of Gunnewijk it remained until the finish with Scandolara just dropping off the pace in the final kilometer.

“To be honest we weren't sure how difficult this final climb was going to be. If it was really difficult for sure it was going to come back but if it wasn't as bad, there was a chance it would survive,” Bates said.

“Loes did a tremendous job working tirelessly to make sure the break survived and try and get as much distance into the group as possible.

“Coming into the finish they actually stayed away and the Rabobank rider (Annemiek) van Vleuten, who got a free ride all day in the breakaway, ended up winning the stage.”

In the general classification battle, Johansson sits in fifth position behind Marianne Vos (RBW) who retained her lead from yesterday.

"We were expecting a hard finish and were looking to get Emma to the bottom of the last five kilometer climb as fresh as possible,” Bates said.

“She was fine all day, we assigned Mel Hoskins to stay by her side all day to keep her as fresh as possible with food and drink. 

“Speaking to Emma after the stage, she said she’d had an easier day than she did on the flat day yesterday, so that is a really good sign for her, and over the coming days I am sure we will see a really good stage result and some overall movement from her.”

Photos: Bart Hazen and Giro Rosa Cycling