Anna van der Breggen heads into the final stage of the Giro Rosa with a tight hold on the maglia rosa following a hectic but ultimately inconsequential penultimate stage into Polla. The Olympic road champion came home in a 60-strong bunch alongside all the general contenders.
Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) delivered Italy’s first victory, outsprinting Lotta Lepistö (Cervelo-Bigla) and Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) to the line. World champion Amalie Dideriksen contested the sprint for Boels-Dolmans, slotting into eighth place.
“It’s nice to get another top ten, but I was hoping to deliver a podium spot for the team,” said Dideriksen. “I guess with my crash yesterday and some hard days in the legs, I can’t be too disappointed. I will keep trying when I get the chance, and I’m sure one day I will succeed.”
The peloton faced a race of two halves on Saturday. The opening kilometres of stage nine were a hard and hilly affair, but the undulating terrain gave way to a largely flat run-in to the finish.
“It was difficult from the start of the stage, and people began to drop from the back early on,” noted Dideriksen. “All of us from the team fought to hang on during the climbs because we knew we might be needed later in the stage.”
All seven Boels-Dolmans riders survived the early attrition.
A three-rider breakaway hit the local laps with a small gap on a chasing peloton. In the final lap, it was clear that the bunch, not the break, would contest the sprint.
“[Sport director] Danny [Stam] came on the radio to ask if anyone was feeling good and could go for the sprint,” said Dideriksen. “It’s been a big week defending for Anna, so we’re all pretty tired. No one spoke up, so I said I could try. I’m happy with the experience I can get in the final, but of course, I never want to block someone else if they feel good.”
Without a dedicated sprint train, Dideriksen looked to play off her competitors.
“I tried to get on Lepisto’s or Rivera’s wheels,” she said. “I was kind of surfing around trying to get a good train, but it was pretty hectic in the final with a little uphill and then down towards the finish. I managed to keep Rivera’s wheel, but she lost her train in the end.”
Dideriksen can’t be too disappointed with a teammate in pink.
“The main thing is we still have Anna in the maglia rosa,” she said. “Tomorrow we’ll fight to keep it that way.”Boels-Dolmans has had the pink jersey since the Giro Rosa began on 30 June. The Dutch-registered squad won the opening stage team trial and put Karol-Ann Canuel in pink. Van der Breggen assumed the race lead from her teammate the next day and has sat atop the general classification since stage two. One stage stands between the Dutchwoman and her second Giro Rosa title.
The final day of racing at the Giro Rosa is a nine-lap 11.1-kilometre circuit race in Torre del Greco. The final lap deviates from the circuit and adds 13-kilometres, including an ascent up Mount Vesuvius.