Yesterday’s Giro-Rosa stage winner Annemiek van Vleutenfinished safely in the chasing group on today’s eighth stage to remain in the Maglia Rosa with two stages remaining.

A group of three riders escaped in the final kilometres of the 126kilometre day, with Marianna Vos (WaowDeals) taking the stage win, whilst van Vleuten and stage six winner Amanda Sprattcrossed the line in the chase group, 23seconds behind to remain in a good position overall, heading into tomorrow’s Queen stage.

Hard start

The stage was aggressive from the beginning with multiple attacks in the first half as riders tried to breakaway, hoping to take an opportunistic stage win.

The first climb came after approximately 20kilometres, and with a hard pace, the main peloton split into two groups leaving 70riders in the front of the race.

Staying safe

Starting the day in first and second place overall, the twoMitchelton-SCOTT leaders worked to stay out of trouble throughout the day with teammate Gracie Elvin by their side, working to keep things under control.

It was on the final descent with eight kilometres to go when a trio of riders, Vos, Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) jumped away and held a big enough gap to contest the stage victory.

Van Vleuten heads into tomorrow’s penultimate stage with a two minute 29second advantage over her closest rival on GC with Spratt slipping down to fourth just two seconds off the podium.

Queen stage coming up

Tomorrow the riders face the monstrous Monte Zoncolan, a 10.1kilometre climb in the Carnic Alps with an elevation of 1,750 metres, an average gradient of 11.9% and a maximum gradient of 22%.

The climb was used men’s Giro d’Italia earlier this year and five times previously and the women’s race returns to the climb for the second time in history after a first appearance back in 1997.

Annemiek van Vleuten – Race leader

“There’s never an easy day in the Giro-Rosa but we were in control again today and we had Gracie Elvin with us in the front, so I felt pretty comfortable and it was a good day for our team.

“After yesterday, I feel confident for the Zoncolan. I think it is less stressful than a day like today so I really look forward to the climb. I take the race day by day so we will have a talk about our tactics for the next days and I know the Zoncolan very well.”

Amanda Spratt – 4th overall

“We were actually quite happy to let a group go today with people further down on GC, but we didn’t want a really big group going. Gracie did an awesome job of monitoring that and I also did quite a lot of work to be in any groups with people higher up on GC, so Annemiek didn’t really have to do anything today.

“We just aimed to be there up the final climb and save ourselves to the finish so I think it was a good day in the end.

“The three riders got away on the descent, we got to the bottom and I was swapping off with Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla), then we heard Gracie was coming back so we waited for her and she just got on the front and conrtolled the gap for as long as she could. The group wasn’t really a threat for us so it was ok today.”

Giro-Rosa stage 8 results:

1. Marianna Vos (WaowDeals) 3:06
2. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Wiggle-High5) ST
3. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) ST
13. Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:23

General classification after stage 8:

1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-SCOTT) 19:32
2. Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) +2:29
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervelo-Bigla) +2:51