Van Vleuten wins Giro Rosa prologue

Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) claims the first pink jersey of the 2015 Giro Rosa women's stage race

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Just like she did last year, Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) kicked off the Giro Rosa with a prologue victory. She won by a narrow margin Wednesday, eking out first place over Lucinda Brand (Rabo-Liv) by one second in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

“It feels super cool because I also won the prologue in Bira and this again is a special feeling to get to wear the maglia rosa tomorrow. I’m so happy for the team,” van Vleuten said.

“You can’t make any mistakes in a prologue like this. You might come here as a favorite, but it’s not so easy because everything has to go perfect. I feel on good form and I was really focused. I practiced a lot. I think I did the turnaround corner 15 times.”

Van Vleuten, 32, former winner of Ronde van Vlaanderen and La Route de France stage race, blazed the two-kilometer course in two minutes, 48 seconds. She finished eighth overall in last year’s Giro Rosa and won stage 3 in 2014, as well as the prologue.

Another Rabo-Liv rider, Roxanne Knetemann, rounded out the podium in third, finishing in the same time as Brand.

The race stays in Slovenia on Saturday for the first road stage. The 102.5km day starts in Kamnik and finishes in Ljubljana. The sprinters should have their day, as there is only one category 3 climb, midway through the mostly flat stage.

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