Newly crowned Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten showed her intentions for the 10day Giro-Rosa today by taking an impressive victory on the mountainous second stage.
The day featured a tough second category climb with 25kilometres remaining where the 34-year-old ORICA-SCOTT rider displayed her form, breaking away alongside good company in Olympic champion Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) and Elisa Longo-Borgini (Wiggle-High5).
The 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.”
With a clear ambition to race for general classification success, Van Vleuten was pleased with the support from her ORICA-SCOTT teammates and their full commitment to the plan.
“I feel that the whole team is really committed and really believe in me which is great feeling,” Van Vleuten continued. “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.”
Sport director Gene Bates echoed van Vleuten’s praise and acknowledgement of her teammates efforts today, all contributing to the overall target.
“The team rode sensational today, everybody really contributed to the victory,” said Bates. “Everyone had a clear role and they all executed it perfectly and this is why you get these special victories.”
“Some of the big favourites where missing from that front group, it was the perfect situation for us as we also had Amanda Spratt in the next chasing group in case it came back together again.
“We knew it would be close in the finish and it was a case of who jumped first with the narrow roads. Van Vleuten should move into second overall now and claw four seconds back on van der Breggen which puts us in a great position early on.”
How it happened:
The first road stage provided an opportunity for an early general classification shake up with a challenging climb and technical descent the key features of today’s stage.
Within the opening 20kilometres, two riders Claudia Koster (VeloConcept) and Nicole Hanselmann (Cervelo-Bigla) broke away and opened up a maximum advantage of just over two minutes.
The duo hovered a couple of minutes ahead for the majority of the stage, with the peloton unwilling to give them any more freedom.
Eventually the pair where reeled back in ahead of the second category climb which saw the peloton quickly reduce down to just 40 riders.
Van Vleuten led over the summit of the climb, taking maximum points in the mountains classification and found herself ahead of the bunch with two others.
The trio built up an advantage of 45seconds as they made their way down the technical descent, and increased it out further as they approached the finish line.
Van Vleuten claimed the stage win which jumps her up to second place overall with Van der Breggen moving into the overall race lead after day two.
Giro Rosa stage 2 result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT)
2. Anna van Der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
3. Elisa Longo-Borgini (Wiggle-High5)