Giro Rosa stage 3: Marianne Vos takes uphill sprint in Assisi

Marianne Vos won the third stage of the Giro Rosa, while Annemiek van Vleuten retained her lead in the GC.

It’s now 26 stage wins and counting for Marianne Vos.

Vos (CCC-Liv), the winningest rider in the UCI Women’s WorldTour peloton, took her 26th career stage victory at the Giro Rosa on Sunday afternoon, taking the race’s third stage ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Fturoscope) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo).

The hilly 142-kilometer stage from Santa Fiora to Assisi took in a number of short and punchy climbs, including the Celle sul Rigo.

Vos was fastest to the finish line, which sat atop a steep 2km climb into Assisi, which peaked with a 650-meter section at 12 percent. The bunch rumbled into the the base of the climb and Vos took the sprint, which at the end became a slow speed slog to the finish.

“I felt really good and my teammates did such a good job to get me in front at the bottom,” Vos said. “Elisa did a very long effort. Not only me, but everyone was struggling and you still have to try for the sprint. I saw the finish and went for it and almost collapsed on the finish.”

Indeed, it was Longo Borghini who attacked at the base of the climb, and her effort seemed to catch the peloton off-guard. Her surge drew out Vos, Uttrup Ludwig, Liane Lippert (Sunweb), and Lotte Kopecky (Lotto-Soudal).

Overnight leader Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) initially missed the surge, but mounted a comeback on the climb to finish 5th place, 12 seconds down.

She retained her lead in the general classification.

“When I saw this finish, I was thinking ‘this is really a very Marianne Vos finish,'” van Vleuten said. “For me it was to not lose time. I was a little out of position and had to make up gaps, so I was not there for the win. I also had a really good day on the bike.”