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“It wasn’t the perfect way to overtake the pink jersey but that’s also bike racing and everything can happen,” she said after today’s stage. “I was disappointed for Annemiek, but I was happy to respect the jersey and wear it today.”
On Saturday, Anna van der Breggen will be the rider in pink. The Dutch national champion finished second in Friday’s stage, edging her to the top of the GC. Niewiadoma came across the line in sixth and is now 1:10 off the leader.
The day’s racing was busy from the start, with riders tackling several kilometers of crosswinds in the first half of the race. The peloton split frequently before coming back together with around 55km to race. At the base of the final climb into San Marco la Catola, a nine-rider breakaway formed.
“The stage went by really fast as there was so much going on,” Niewiadoma said. “You were fighting for the wheel in the echelons and then we were up and over the climb mid-race and on to a long descent. We were in a good position as we had numbers in the front group so I’m thankful for my team for that.”
“When we hit the super steep final climb, we started fast and then just after a short plateau, Anna van der Breggen attacked and I couldn’t go with. I went my own speed and tried not to lose too much time.”
Teammate Omer Shapira praised Niewiadoma for her efforts on a challenging day of racing.
“This is what she had today and she’s happy with what she did because she knows that she left everything on the climb,” Shapira said. “Unfortunately it was not enough today for the win, to keep the pink jersey with us. Tomorrow is a new day and we will do our best and we will try to bring the pink jersey back.”
The general classification now stands with van der Breggen in the maglia rosa, Kasia Niewiadoma in second at 1:10, and Elisa Longo Borghini at 2:23 in third.
Niewiadoma says that she feels good ahead of Saturday’s final stage, a four-lap circuit around Motta Montecorvino with plenty of opportunity for GC contenders to shake things up.
“I think this is my first Giro Rosa where I’m actually enjoying it until the end,” she said. “I don’t feel like I’m pushing to do something that I can’t achieve. It just feels right to be here racing well with the team, and we’re all understanding each other very well. Being on the podium would be a win in itself so I hope that I can keep that position until the end tomorrow. I never came here dreaming to go for the maglia rosa, somehow I wasn’t confident to do it. So with the performances we’ve had until now, it makes me want to come back here in one or two years and actually aim for the victory.”