Australian Amanda Spratt took charge on the Giro Rosa’s first day of climbing, winning stage 6’s uphill finish in Gerola Alta, Italy Wednesday.
Her Mitchelton-Scott teammate Annemiek van Vleuten came home second on the Cat. 2 finish climb. Cervelo-Bigla’s South African climber Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was third at the end of the 114.1km stage.
With her win, Spratt seized the overall race lead from American Ruth Winder (Sunweb) who won stage 5. Winder was 17th on the day, 1:49 behind. She’s now second overall, 30 seconds behind Spratt. Van Vleuten is lurking close behind in third, 33 seconds behind her Aussie teammate.
Winder was dropped inside the final 10km of racing.
With the group whittled down to about 16 riders, van Vleuten kicked off the action with an attack that drew out four riders: Moolman-Pasio, Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), Mavi Garcia (Movistar), and Spratt.
“It worked out well, there were quite a few attacks and it was hard and Annemiek really set me up for the attack when I went and it worked out perfectly,” Spratt said.
Spratt made her winning move with five kilometers to go on the steady finish climb’s steep pitch.
She said that her knowledge of the climb was critical to her victory.
“We actually came and rode this climb a couple of weeks ago and I think that really paid off,” Spratt added. “We knew when was good to attack, we knew it would get steeper and we just had to stay patient until then. I went into the big ring because I knew it flatten off after and I am so happy to take the jersey.”
With van Vleuten marking the small chase group behind, Spratt, 30, rode home alone to victory.
Van Vleuten, winner of La Course last year, may move into the overall lead Thursday as stage 7’s 15km individual time trial should favor the Dutchwoman. The race finishes Sunday after what should be a decisive mountaintop finish on Monte Zoncolon Saturday.