Jolien D’Hoore took a convincing sprint victory today on a hot, flat third stage of the Giro-Rosa. Yesterday’s winner Kirsten Wild (Wiggle High5) came in second, while American Alexis Ryan (Canyon SRAM) rounded out the podium in third. Leah Kirchmann finished on the same time as D’Hoore and moved into the overall race leader to keep the leader’s jersey in her Sunweb team.
The fast, flat stage was tailor-made for D’Hoore, who had picked out the stage as a potential opportunity to take an early stage win. The Belgian crossed the line in Corbetta with almost a bike length between herself and the rest of the field.
“It was a flat stage so we decided within the team that today was for me and I was really happy it was a sprint in the end.
“In the Giro-Rosa it is always nervous in the bunch, today everybody was expecting a bunch sprint so it was fairly easy, but on the last lap, it was pretty hectic again.
“Everybody knew how the finish was but it was still crazy, everybody was taking many risks. There were a lot of crashes but I was able to stay safe and I just found my way through the bunch, I guess that is thanks to being a track rider.”
After three and a half of a total eight laps of racing, three riders jumped away ahead of the bunch and opened up a steady advantage. The teams kept the trio within striking distance, never allowing them to get more than a two-minute advantage.
As the trio entered the final lap, the tension in the peloton caused the pace to lift and the leaders’ gap drop down under one minute.
The catch was finally made in the last three kilometers. D’hoore’s Mitchelton-Scott teammates Sarah Roy then made a big effort to keep D’hoore up front and in a good position.
After missing out yesterday in the sprint, D’hoore was motivated and surfed the wheels through the final kilometer before launching to a convincing victory, ahead of Wild.
“I came into the last corner in around fifth position, so I actually had to go from that position otherwise it was too late. It was a really long sprint but I managed to hold it until the finish line.
“It was great today that we could also keep our GC riders safe and up there and then, of course, I am happy to win and it is good for the morale for the team.
“I just had to believe in myself and just had to say myself that I could do it and that is what I did. Sometimes it is that simple, it is all in the head.”