Giro Rosa race leader Anna van der Breggen time trialled to second place in Sante’elpidio a Mare on Tuesday to gain time on all her general classification rivals save one. Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team put three in the time trial top ten with Megan Guarnier in fifth place and Canadian time trial champion Karol-Ann Canuel snagging tenth.
“It was a good day for the general classification, winning some seconds on everybody but Annemiek, who came a bit closer after a good time trial,” said Van der Breggen.
As is typical at the Giro Rosa, the profile for the 12.73 kilometre time trial grossly misrepresented the challenges of the stage. The route included enough elevation that most riders, including Van der Breggen, opted to race on their road bikes. There were two steep climbs, including the short but punishingly steep Muro di Cocciari with slopes as steep as 30 percent.
“We had some laughs about the profile in the book,” Van der Breggen said. “This extreme TT looked like it was almost flat in the profile. To be honest, I think it was a bit too much. The girls who aren’t going for the general classification or a good TT result had no option to save themselves.”
“For myself, it’s not a secret that I like climbing in a time trial, but in this time trial, we had to climb two times a ‘wall’ which was really difficult to do on a time trial bike,” said Van der Breggen. “Except for Annemiek, I think no one chose their time trial bike.”
Linda Villumsen (Veloconcept) owned the quickest time when Canuel began her effort. Villumsen’s time was soon bested by Hannah Barnes (CANYON//SRAM). The Briton was the first to break the 28-minute barrier with a time of 27:42.
Arlenis Sierra (Astana) stopped the clock at 27:30, displacing Barnes, and then Amanda Spratt (ORICA-SCOTT) took the heat seat with 27:17.
Fourth from last to race, Van Vleuten absolutely smashed Spratt’s time, clocking 25:29 across the line. Guarnier came in with 27:32, provisionally third until first Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) at and then Van der Breggen pushed her back to fifth place.
When the time trial ended, the same riders stood on the stage podium who currently occupy the top three spots overall. Van Vleuten beat out Van der Bregen by 41-seconds. Longo Borghini came third at 1:15.
Van der Breggen remains firmly atop the overall classification with a minute lead on Longo Borghini. Van Vleuten moved up third overall at 1:36 while Guarnier drops back down to fourth place at 3:08. Canuel, in seventh place, gives Boels-Dolmans three riders in the Giro Rosa top ten heading into the second half of the race.
The Giro Rosa continues tomorrow with a four-lap circuit race in and around Roseta degli Abruzzi. Stage six has been dubbed a day for the sprinters, but given the unpredictable nature of the Giro Rosa, a field sprint following the 116-kilometre race is far from the only likely outcome.