By a margin of two minutes, 29 seconds, Annemiek van Vleuten took a commanding lead in the Giro Rosa Thursday, winning the stage 7 time trial in Diga di Campo Moro, Italy.
The world time trial champion came into the 15km stage in third overall, just 33 seconds behind her Mitchelton-Scott teammate Amanda Spratt, winner of stage 6. The time trial was an uphill route, gaining 1,010 meters, and van Vleuten mastered it in a time of 46:06, averaging 19.5kph.
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla), who was third to van Vleuten Wednesday, was second in the time trial. Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) was third in stage 7, 2:54 behind the winner.
At the time check, halfway though the course, van Vleuten was 44 seconds ahead of Moolman-Pasio. The Dutchwoman poured it on at the top of Alte Gera di Campo Moro, although she admitted she wasn’t aware of the time gap.
“I’m not sure of the time gap, but I gave it everything out there and I was completely empty at the finish, but also super happy,” said van Vleuten.
Van Vleuten now leads the overall by 2:53 ahead of Spratt, who was fifth Thursday. Moolman-Pasio is only one second behind the Aussie in third.
“I am still feeling good and I think yesterday showed that I’m in good shape, but Annemiek had such a great ride today, I am really proud of her and we are going into the rest of the race with a lot of form and confidence,” Spratt said.
Stage 8 will be a respite for the peloton before Monte Zoncolan on Saturday. However, Friday’s mostly flat race from San Giorgio di Perlena to Breganze will be a long one at 121.6km.
“After yesterday’s stage I was full of confidence today and I feel really good and it’s great all the hard work paid off,” van Vleuten added. “We’re focused on the task in hand and we are taking it day by day, there is the Zoncolan coming up and it’s a very hard climb, but we are riding very well and we can continue with confidence.”