Annemiek van Vleuten doubles up after a tough ride in Giro Donne

Annemiek van Vleuten doubles up after a tough ride in Giro Donne

Monday, July 4, 2022 at 3:26 PM

Annemiek van Vleuten has seized power in the Giro d’Italia Donne. The Movistar rider defeated a strong Mavi García in the sprint after a tough ride in and around Cesena. Marta Cavalli crossed the line in third place, about forty seconds behind the winner, the other classification riders were completely blown away.

After a rest day and a significant displacement, the riders in Cesena picked up again. The route of the third stage followed partly the same roads as the famous Nove Colli granfondo. These are roads that the regional cycling legend Marco Pantani will have ridden regularly. On the way, the riders got the climb to Bertinoro (3.9 km at 4.9%), Colle del Barbotto (4.3 km at 8.2%), the climb to Monteleone (1.9 km at 6.9%) and the uncategorized Via Castello di Carpineta. The top of this climb was ten kilometers from the finish.

In a fast first hour of racing it was futile to wait for an early flight. Several riders tried to escape, but the attack attempts were skillfully nipped in the bud. Franziska Brauße rode ahead of the peloton for a while, but the German rider from Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling was quickly caught again. It turned out to be a harbinger for a lightning fast and above all spectacular final. The race exploded completely on the flanks of the Colle del Barbotto, although the television viewer did not get much of the most important attack of the day.

photo: Cor Vos

Van Vleuten, Cavalli and García go full on
The toppers for the classification went full steam ahead on the steepest flanks of the Colle del Barbotto. Annemiek van Vleuten, the two-time winner of the Giro Donne and top favorite for a new overall victory, Marta Cavalli and Mavi García turned out to have the strongest climbing legs and rode away from the opposition. In the ensuing descent of the Barbotto, the difference between the three clappers and a first chasing group only got bigger. Van Vleuten, García and Cavalli did not look back, worked well together and started with a lead of good two minutes at the Monteleone (1.9 km at 6.9%).

In the chasing group it was up to SD Worx to take the chestnuts out of the fire, in the hope of rectifying the imbalance, but the three birds had already flown for a while. Van Vleuten, García and Cavalli continued to advance and could end up with the three of them for the stage win and the pink jersey, although they still had to survive the steep slopes of the uncategorized Via Castello di Carpineta . On this climb, Van Vleuten decided to continue in her typical style, but García and Cavalli did not flinch and managed to answer a first attack.

Strong García puts Van Vleuten and Cavalli on the rack
In fact, García was clearly running with surplus and decided to take the lead and put her rivals on the grid. With a long straight acceleration, standing on the pedals, she managed to push Van Vleuten and Cavalli to the limit. The Italian was the first to go overboard, but Van Vleuten managed to hang and strangle García and then attacked three more times. Spain’s García had no intention of folding, so we started the last seven with two front runners, some flat kilometers towards the finish. However, Van Vleuten and García still had to take Cavalli into account.

photo: Cor Vos

The winner of the Amstel Gold Race and Walloon Arrow managed to limit the damage in the background and thus got stuck at ten seconds from the two leaders, but Van Vleuten and García no longer let themselves be eaten and so we got a sprint with two in Cesena. García tried to play on the surprise with 600 meters to go and made it a very long sprint. However, Van Vleuten was attentive, went full through the last corner and thus managed to keep contemporaneous García from the stage victory. The 39-year-old Dutchman, who will end her career at the end of 2023, is also the new leader.

Van Vleuten is therefore doing an excellent job in her pursuit of a third overall victory in the Giro d’Italia for women, although García (+25 seconds) and Cavalli (+57 seconds) are still within a minute. Furthermore, the differences in the top-10 of the general classification are already immense. Elisa Longo Borghini, the provisional number four in the standings, follows exactly five minutes from Van Vleuten.