Megan Guarnier finished fourth in the first stage with an uphill finish in the 2018 Giro Rosa. The winner of the 2016 edition of this race crossed the line behind winner Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), who is also the new pink jersey wearer. Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) finished second, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo-Bigla) third.
Although the undulating opening kilometers once again offered chances for a breakaway on paper, the peloton didn’t allow anyone to really get off the front.
“I would say it was still a pretty nervous peloton,” said Guarnier. “It was a fast pace most of the day. The team did their best to get me to the base of the climb as fresh as possible.”
From the foot of the climb, it was an elimination race, paced by Sabrina Stultiens (Waowdeals). As pink jersey wearer Ruth Winder (Team Sunweb) got dropped, the pace increased even further. Guarnier held her ground as the group decreased to only twelve riders.
At 7 kilometers from the line, Ane Santesteban (Ale Cipollini) opened up the final with an attack, which was neutralised straight away.
A drop in the pace allowed a group of riders to return, but then Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb) attacked, which immediately reduced the front group again. As soon as Brand was reeled in, Spratt tried her luck.
It took her three attempts to make the race-winning move, but then Spratt was off to arrive at the finish line solo. Van Vleuten crossed the line half a minute later, with four fellow chasers in her wheel.
“The finishing climb was steady,” said Guarnier. “I did my best to hold the tempo of the first group. Right now, I’m going to recover as best as possible into the very difficult uphill time trial tomorrow.”
Guarnier goes into the stage seven time trial in eighth position overall, 1’49” down on pink jersey wearer Spratt. Winder is still second overall at 30” down, while Van Vleuten currently stands third overall at 33 seconds from teammate Spratt.