Van Vleuten attacks to take a solo victory and move into the Giro-Rosa race lead on day fiveTue 9 Jul 2019
Last year’s Giro-Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten has attacked her way into the Maglia Rosa on the first mountain stage of the 10-day Grand Tour.
The world time trial champion used the steepest ramp to launch her move at the start of the final climb, passing two surviving breakaway leaders before continuing to extend her lead to cross the finish line solo, two-minutes 57seconds ahead of second place and her main GC rivals.
Van Vleuten now heads into tomorrow's uphill individual time trial with a sizeable overall lead of two-minutes 16seconds.
The short 87.5kilometre day began at 486metres altitude but after just 15.4kilometres, the riders crested the top of the first climb,the Fine Salita Corona, with an altitude gain of 1063metres.
As expected, the peloton shattered into multiple groups with the pure climbers coming to the fore. Van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt headed over the top of the climb in first and second position, with the front group down to just 26riders after a lot of work by teammate Lucy Kennedy.
A breakaway in the valley
Once the race settled down on the flat roads in the valley, Nikola Nosková (Bigla Pro Team) attacked away from the front group and with no real commitment behind, she quickly opened up a lead of over two-minutes.
Shortly after, two more riders bridged across and the trio worked together and gradually drew closer to the final tough climb.
Van Vleuten on the attack
Despite the Passio di Gavia being removed due to safety reasons, Van Vleuten knew today's climb was her best opportunity to take some time and launched out of the reducing chase group at the bottom of the steep final 10kilometre climb and quickly flew past the remaining leaders.
As the kilometres ticked down and the road continued to head north, the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider continued to push on, continuously increasing her lead to finally cross the finish line in Lago di Cancano with an important time advantage over the rest of her rivals, while teammate Spratt patrolled the group, before finishing the stage in a strong fifth position herself.
Van Vleuten also now leads the points and mountains classifications alongwith the overall classification.
Annemiek van Vleuten
“I’m very happy, after they took the Gavia out I knew it would be harder to take a lot of time. I knew I needed to attack from the bottom to try and get as much time as possible so it was 10kilometres of suffering.
“I’ve very proud to wear the pink jersey again, it’s my dream to wear pink. It’s very special and it is a very big goal of mine to win the Giro-Rosa this year.
“I'm super happy that I could use my legs today, it has been a bit of a waiting game the past days but today finally I could have a go.
"I can sleep a little relaxed tonight knowing it’s some more seconds gained and I know now I have good legs. I just put out a big effort but to finish around three-minutes in front, it’s more than expected.”
Giro-Rosa - Stage 5 Results:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 3:09:47
2. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) +2:57
3. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) ST
General Classification after stage 5:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 11:17:44
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) +2:16
3. Ashleigh Moolman (CCC-Liv) +3:05
Photos courtesy of Getty Images