Dutch cyclist Annemiek van Vleuten took the the stage 2 win in Mantereale Valcellina on Saturday.
A day after Boels-Dolmans won the 2017 Giro Rosa team time trial opener, the 34-year-old Orica-Scott rider took the win over rivals Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) at the end of the 122.25-kilometer stage from Zoppola.
An early break consisting of two riders Claudia Koster (VeloConcept) and Nicole Hanselmann (Cervelo-Bigla) broke away inside the first 20km and opened up a maximum advantage of just over two minutes before the being reeled back by the peloton before race-deciding ascent.
Following a tough category 2 climb inside the final 25km, the eventual podium trio opened up an advantage of one minute and 45seconds with van Vleuten proving to be the strongest of the day winning the sprint to take a stage victory.
“Today was a really good test for my legs so I am really happy to take the victory,” explained van Vleuten. “I didn’t really know how my form was uphill as I haven’t had the chance to test my legs uphill for almost four or five weeks.”
“I know I have had really good preparation coming into this Giro Rosa and I felt really strong on the climb, on the descent and also in the final 20kilometres where we had to ride really hard.
“I was only thinking about taking time and not the stage victory. I am thinking more about the overall than stages and today is a really good sign that my preparation went really well.”
Van Vleuten, who kicked off her season with a sensational win at the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race in January, has a plethora of top 5 finishes on the season — most notably Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (third), Strade Bianche (fifth), Ronde van Vlaanderen (fourth), Amstel Gold Race (third), La Flèche Wallonne (fourth) and Liège-Bastogne-Liège (fifth). The recently crowned Dutch time trial champion also picked up a win in May at Durango and finished second on GC at Emakumeen after taking a stage win later that month.
“I feel that the whole team is really committed and really believe in me which is great feeling,” said van Vleuten. “The girls are always putting me in a good position into the beginning of the climbs and it is an amazing feeling, I feel really supported.”
“It is the first time for me to target the GC and the first time to have the team riding for me which is a really cool new experience and I am really happy today that I showed that we can do something special here together.”
Van Vleuten may have won the day, but fellow Dutchwoman and Olympic champion Van der Breggen will wear the leaders jersey on the third stage start in San Fior — a 100km predominantly flat stage to San Vendemiano.
Stage 2 results, top 10
1. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN, ORICA-SCOTT, in 3:11:51
2. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, BOELS-DOLMANS, at 0:00
3. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, WIGGLE-HIGH5, at 0:00
4. Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA, WM3 ENERGIE, at 1:54
5. Megan GUARNIER, BOELS-DOLMANS, at 1:54
6. Shara GILLOW, FDJ-NOUVELLE AQUITAINE-FUTUROSCOPE, at 1:54
7. Amanda SPRATT, ORICA-SCOTT, at 1:54
8. Yevgenia VYSOTSKA, CONCERIA ZABRI-FANINI-GUERCIOTTI, at 1:59
9. Lucinda BRAND,TEAM SUNWEB, at 2:37
10. Arlenis SIERRA, ASTANA WOMENS, at 2:37
General classification, top 10
1. Anna VAN DER BREGGEN, BOELS-DOLMANS, in 3:26:32
2. Annemiek VAN VLEUTEN, ORICA-SCOTT, at 0:18
3. Elisa LONGO BORGHINI, WIGGLE-HIGH5, at 0:26
4. Megan GUARNIER, BOELS-DOLMANS, at 2:00
5. Amanda SPRATT, ORICA-SCOTT, at 2:22
6. Katarzyna NIEWIADOMA, WM3 ENERGIE, at 2:37
7. Karol-ann CANUEL, BOELS-DOLMANS, at 2:43
8. Elizabeth DEIGNAN, BOELS-DOLMANS, at 2:50
9. Lucinda BRAND, TEAM SUNWEB, at 3:02
10. Floortje MACKAIJ,TEAM SUNWEB, at 3:02
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