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Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) took a narrow win over Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) in Saturday’s stage of the Giro d’Italia Internationale Femminile. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) finished third.
“We came here to win the Giro,” said Van der Breggen. “Pretty early, it became clear that that wouldn’t work, Annemiek [van Vleuten] was really strong this week. But I tried to win a stage and am really happy that it worked.”
Van Vleuten attacked midway up the long final climb of the day, and given the climbing form she has demonstrated so far in the race, it looked like she was nailed-on for her third stage victory of the race. However, van der Breggen clawed her back in the final kilometers, and overhauled the pink jersey in the final stretch of the summit finish.
Although she lost the stage in the dying kilometer, van Vleuten retains her dominant lead on the GC, now 3:50 in front of van der Breggen. With only Sunday’s largely flat stage to Udine remaining, she looks guaranteed the maglia rosa.
“It was a beautiful and hard climb and a great fight for the stage win,” said van Vleuten. “I gave everything I had, I died completely in the last kilometer, I went completely to the maximum today. I’m still in pink and that’s the most important thing.”
It was another long day at 125.5km and a stage of two halves, with it being pan flat for the first half before gradually rising for the second half, finishing with a tough 13km climb to the line which included several pitches near 20-percent.
Seven riders went away early, with van der Breggen and van Vleuten back in the peloton. The bunch kept the break at a manageable distance, driven by Mitchelton-Scott on behalf of Van Vleuten, and all the escapees were caught at the base of the final climb.
Van Vleuten sparked the action, attacking near the bottom of the climb with teammate Amanda Spratt, and only Moolman-Pasio and Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) were able to go with them. Van der Breggen was initially distanced, but joined the leaders shortly after, having been paced by teammate Katie Hall.
With everyone dropped bar van der Breggen, van Vleuten attacked again with 5km remaining, and soon put 10 seconds into her GC rival. However, van der Breggen kept cool and paced back Van Vleuten, overhauling her in the final kilometer and powering on to win by 17 seconds.
Giro Rosa, stage 9
- Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans)
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) + 0:17
- Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) + 1:38
- Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) – S.T
- Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans) + 1:57
- Demi Vollering (Parkhotel Valkenburg) + 2:51
- Ane Santesteban Gonzalez (WNT-Rotor) – S.T.
- Erica Magnaldi (Ita) (WNT-Rotor) + 2:53
GC after stage 9
- Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott)
- Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) + 3:50
- Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) + 7:00
- Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (CCC-Liv) + 8:05
- Katie Hall (Boels-Dolmans)+ 8:09
- Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) + 8.10
- Lucinda Brand (Sunweb) + 8.25
- Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) + 8:30