Amy Pieters has won the third stage in the Emakumeen Bira on Monday. Pieters ended up in the break of the day and beat her nine breakaway companions in a sprint. She was three bike lengths ahead when she crossed the finish line to take her second Women’s WorldTour victory of the year in Aretxabaleta.
“I knew I had to start my sprint early,” said Pieters. “So I did. It was pretty long, but I think I didn’t have any other choice on a finish like this one. And in the end it worked out.”
Halfway through the stage, a ten-rider group got off the front with Pieters representing Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team.
“We had the first two climbs done and then I knew we had to start attacking," Pieters explained. "So we did and I was in the good one straightaway. Suddenly we had a one minute advantage and it was the break of the day.”
Pauliena Rooijakkers (Waowdeals Pro Cycling) attacked on one of the climbs and built a dangerous lead going into the final. But at four kilometres from the finish line, her dream of repeating Stultiens’ success in the Emakumeen Bira was gone as she was caught back by the break.
One of the riders in that group was New-Zealander Georgia Williams (Mitchelton-Scott), who was tenth in the GC after the stage two individual time trial. At only 1’46” down on Van der Breggen and the peloton arriving at the finish line almost two minutes behind Pieters, Williams jumped over Van der Breggen in the GC, who drops down to third place.
However, Pieters has moved up to fifth place, only 42 seconds down on Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), who retained the leader’s jersey. This opens up opportunities for the team in tomorrow’s last stage.
“Now we have more options, but tomorrow will be another tough day,” said Pieters. “We will have to talk about it tonight. I didn’t expect this at all today, so we’ll discuss our plans tonight.”
The fourth and last stage of the inaugural Women’s WorldTour Emakumeen Bira is the longest with 120 kilometers in length. Start and finish are in Iurreta. Around 7pm CET, we will know who wins stage four and takes the overall.