Dutch time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten displayed great strength and determination to win today’s challenging individual time trial on stage five of the Giro Rosa and move up to third place overall.
The 34-year-old put yesterday’s disappointment of losing time on the general classification behind her and courageously bounced back to dominate the tough, hilly time trial stage.
The ORICA-SCOTT rider completed the 12.7kilometre distance with a blistering time of 25minutes and 29seconds, 41seconds ahead of her nearest rival Anna van Der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans).
“We had a really good preparation for this time trial, that was really good for my confidence going into the stage,” Van Vleuten said. “Of course you also need good legs but I have been feeling really good throughout this Giro and I showed that again today.”
“I was super disappointed yesterday but I managed to stay focused and I knew today was a chance to take some time back.
“The time gap on GC is still a lot but today gives me more confidence. We will look at things day by day, I learnt the lesson the hard way yesterday not to switch off on flat stages so tomorrow I will be really focused.
“I have a great team here, it was very special yesterday with all the team working and going for this plan, so now we can go for it again.”
Confident that Van Vleuten had a good chance of winning the stage, ORICA-SCOTT took time last week to recon the route and test out equipment which proved to be a vital advantage in coming away with the victory today.
“We spent a whole day on the course, trialling different equipment, we used road bikes, time trial bikes, disks and we found that there was enough flat and fast sections of the course that it would still be beneficial to use a time trial bike which Van Vleuten did,” explained sport director Gene Bates.
“I think that is what really helped us today along with knowing the course really well and how steep the climb actually was.
“There isn’t another really hard day to keep taking lots of time back so I think it will be really difficult but we still have five stages and as we saw yesterday anything can happen at any moment so we will continue to give it our best shot.”
How it happened:
After three hard road stages, stage five was a warm welcome for the time trial riders with a tough 12.7kilometre individual race against the clock.
Despite the road book profile, the course was very challenging with two main climbs and one of them reaching a 30 percent gradient.
The early time to beat was set by Miriam Bjornsrund with 29minutes and five seconds, but as each rider completed the distance the fastest time continued to change.
One of the final riders to start, Amanda Spratt, set the new fastest time of 27minutes and 17seconds to move into the hot seat, however, it was her teammate who knocked her off the top spot and she eventually finished in fourth place.
Van Vleuten waited with the fastest time as the final three riders crossed the line, but with none able to dip under the 26minute mark, the Dutch rider claimed the stage win with a sizeable margin and therefore gained valuable seconds back on the overall classification.
Van Vleuten now sits in third place overall with Spratt in fifth place with five more stages remaining.
Giro Rosa stage 5 result:
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) 25:29
2. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) 26:10
3. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) 26:44
General classification after stage 5:
1. Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) 9:02
2. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) +1:00
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (ORICA-SCOTT) +1:36