How the race finished
Antonia Niedermaier (Canyon//Sram Racing) took a breakthrough win in the Giro Donne, holding off Maglia Rosa wearer Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) in the race to the line. Niamh Fisher-Black (SD Worx) was fastest of the next chasing group, taking third.
Van Vleuten retains the lead in the general classification, while Niedermaier’s ride propelled her up into second place. Yesterday’s stand-out performer, Veronica Ewers (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB), is in third overall. A crash on the final descent unfortunately saw Italian champion Elisa Longo-Borghini (Lidl-Trek) lose her position on the provisional podium.
Full results are available below.
How it happened
Stage 5 of the Giro Donne took the riders from Salassa to Ceres. With the overall race profile lacking any major mountain stages, today’s stage, with a category 1 climb in the first half, followed by a couple of sharp category 3 climbs towards the end, promised GC fireworks. Intense racing was packed into the 105.7km course, with the race picture changing after nearly every climb.
Despite the category 1 climb, the Passo del Lupo, coming early in the stage, race leader Annemiek van Vleuten lost no time in lighting things up. The Passo del Lupo is the Cima Coppi of this year’s race, averaging 8.4% for 10.1km. By the top of the long climb, the peloton had broken apart. At the front, only Gaia Realini (Lidl-Trek) could stay with van Vleuten. On the descent, Niamh Fisher-Black and Elisa Longo-Borghini were able to combine in pursuit, and shortly after, to bridge across to the front pair.
A group of six riders were around a minute behind the leading quartet. Antonia Niedermeier (Canyon//Sram Racing), Erica Magnaldi and Silvia Persico (UAE Team AQD), Juliette Labous (DSM Firminech) and Marta Cavalli (FDJ Suez) rode strongly together to eventually reel back in the leaders. Coming into the first category 3 climb, up to Vietti, Annemiek van Vleuten tried again to split the group, but she was closely marked. Labous and Persico found a moment to attack, getting a few metres of advantage. Niedermaier and Niamh Fisher Black jumped across to the duo, and then Niedermaier continued her effort, dropping the others in the process. Fisher Black continued her effort, but wasn’t able to bridge to Niedermaier, eventually being swept up by the group on the descent.
Through the valley, Niedermaier extended her lead to over a minute. The chasing group slowed a little, and the next group on the road were able to return. Van Vleuten’s teammate Paula Patino went straight over the top with Magnaldi, as the final category 3 climb up to Sant’Ignazio loomed.
Van Vleuten again attacked the base of the climb, hoping to use the whole length to close the gap to Niedermaier and wear out her opponents legs before the steeper ramps. Elisa Longo-Borghini was initially able to stay with van Vleuten, but over the top a gap opened up between the pair. Behind them, Cavalli, Realini, Fisher-Black and Labous were climbing strongly in pursuit. Out front, Niedermaier’s lead had been reduced to about 15 seconds.
On the descent, van Vleuten carried a little too much pace into a corner, finding herself off the road but quickly able to remount. A few seconds later, Longo-Borghini also miscalculated the same bend, going down. While she was also eventually able to remount and ride across the finish line, Longo-Borghini was unable to defend her position on the GC podium.
Through the last 5km Niedermaier held her slender lead, with van Vleuten able to see her up ahead. With the road pitching up for the last kilometre, the switchbacks felt like a cruel yoyo, each able to see the other. It came down to who had the legs after a long day of climbing. Niedermaier surprised herself to be able to hold off the world champion all the way to the line, not even raising her arms to celebrate her first victory in the Women’s World Tour.
Van Vleuten crossed the line 10 seconds later, successfully defending her lead in the General Classification. Over a minute later, Niamh Fisher-Black out-climbed Labous, Ewers and Realini on the final rise of the day to take the third place on the stage.
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