UCI Hour Record holder Evie Stevens won the second stage of the Giro Rosa to pull on the race leader’s maglia rosa in Montenars. It’s the first win of the season for Stevens, who is the fifth Boels-Dolmans rider to win a UCI Women’s WorldTour race.
“It feels fantastic,” said Stevens. “It’s been such a long time. The timing of the season, heading into Rio, and knowing that this is just where I want to be is great. I’m very happy.”
American road champion Megan Guarnier lined up for the 111-kilometre stage in the pink jersey of race leader. She started the stage with an eight-second advantage on Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv) and Giorgia Bronzini (Aromitalia – Vaiano). Stevens had slotted into fifth place following the opening two days of racing.
“The team place? To be aggressive on the climb. To try to win it,” said Stevens. “We knew the race would happen on the climbs at the end.”
The climbs at the end were the only two categorised climbs on the stage two menu. The first came at 96 kilometres. The second, which began at 107 kilometres, kicked up to the finish line.
“That last climb was steep,” said Stevens. “It was hard, and it was pretty long.”
“Lizzie [Armitstead] set the tempo on the first climb,” Stevens added. “Then she kind of took Megan and me into the second climb again. Before the climbs there were lots of attacks that got nowhere because my teammates were amazing in covering them. Karo [Canuel] is the Energizer Bunny of chasing down moves.”
Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) was the first to launch on the final climb.
“It all came back together after Anna’s attack,” Stevens noted. “Then Mara [Abbott] (Wiggle-High5) set tempo. I attacked with one-kilometre to go.”
“Mara lifted the pace. Elisa [Longo Borghini] (Wiggle-High5) opened it up. I came around her with 50 metres, and I put my hands in the air because it’s been a long, long time.”
Stevens and Longo Borghini were awarded the same time on the line but Stevens picked up ten bonus seconds to Longo Borghini’s six. Kasia Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv) rounded out the stage podium at two seconds, earning four bonus seconds for third place.
Guarnier crossed the line in fifth place at 24-seconds.
The stage results upended the overall as Stevens jumped to the top of the general classification two seconds ahead of Niewiadoma. Guarnier now sits third overall at 18 seconds.
Three days into the longest women’s race on the calendar, Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team has won one stage and had two riders in pink.
“It’s super early to be in the maglia rosa, and a lot can change between now and the finish,” said Stevens. “Really, it’s just special to win the stage and it’s nice to keep the jersey within the team. There’s a lot of days left to race.”
The fourth of July is Independence Day in the U.S., and Stevens will proudly wear the maglia rosa on her national holiday. The 120-kilometre stage runs between Montagnana and Lendinara in Italy’s Veneto region.
“Tomorrow’s stage is pan-flat,” said Setevens. “It should be a day for the sprinters. The profile says it’s flat, but you never know with the Giro.”