The ‘Belgian bullet’ Jolien D’Hoore took a convincing sprint victory today on a hot, flat third stage at the Giro-Rosa.
Before the race, the 28-year-old had picked out today’s stage as a potential opportunity to take an early stage win and went on to deliver the goods, crossing the line in Corbetta with almost a bike length between herself and the rest.
Circuit for the sprinters
With eight completely flat laps of 16kilometres around the city, today’s stage was made for the sprinters.
A technical final three kilometres run in to the finish made for a nervous day, but Mitchelton-SCOTT remained calm and prepared themselves for the final, checking the course each time they passed the finish line.
Three take their chances
After three and a half laps of racing, three riders jumped away ahead of the bunch and opened up a steady advantage. The teams kept the trio within striking distance, never allowing them to get more than a two minute advantage.
As the trio entered the final lap, the tension in the peloton caused the pace to lift and the leaders’ gap drop down under one minute.
Catch in time for a sprint
The catch was finally made in the last three kilometres, Sarah Roy then made a big effort for one kilometre to keep D’hoore up towards the front and in a good position.
After missing out yesterday in the sprint, the D’hoore was motiveded to get things right today and surfed the wheels through the final kilometre before launching to a convincing victory, ahead of second place Kirsten Wild (Wiggle-High5).
Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) now moves into the overall race leader after three stages.
Jolien D’Hoore – Stage 3 winner
“It was a flat stage so we decided within the team that today was for me and I was really happy it was a sprint in the end.
“In the Giro-Rosa it is always nervous in the bunch, today everybody was expecting a bunch sprint so it was fairly easy, but on the last lap it was pretty hectic again.
“Everybody knew how the finish was but it was still crazy, everybody was taking many risks. There were a lot of crashes but I was able to stay safe and I just found my way through the bunch, I guess that is thanks to being a track rider.
“I came into the last corner in around fifth position, so I actually had to go from that position otherwise it was too late. It was a really long sprint but I managed to hold it until the finish line.
“It was great today that we could also keep our GC riders safe and up there and then of course I am happy to win and it is good for the morale for the team.
“I just had to believe in myself and just had to say myself that I could do it and that is what I did. Sometimes it is that simple, it is all in the head.
“Now we are all in for the GC again and hopefully we can make it until the end.”
Giro-Rosa stage 3 results:
General classification after stage 3:
1. Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) 6:56