How the Race Finished
It was a second victory for the Maglia Ciclamino Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) in this year’s Giro Donne, taking stage five just ahead of Charlotte Kool (DSM) and Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma). There was a tight corner with 200m to go: Kool and Balsamo came through it side-by-side, with Balsamo just inching ahead on the line. Balsamo was elated, while Kool, who now has two second places and a third place in the sprint stages of this Giro, was visibly frustrated.
The Main Action
After the race exploded in the heat yesterday, today looked like it might be calmer. It was a flat day, designed for the sprinters, running from Carpi to Reggio Emilia. A five-strong breakaway went early, composed of Matilde Vitillo (BePink), Hannah Barnes (Uno-X), Anastasia Carbonari (Valcar Travel & Service), Giorgia Bariani and Iris Monticolo (both Top Girls Fassa Bortolo). With 50km to go, the peloton had allowed them a five minute lead; with the highest placed rider in the GC being Matilde Vitillo, at 12’19”, the group posed no threat to the overall standings.
Trek-Segafredo came to the front of the peloton, bringing down the gap, aiming to set up a sprint for Elisa Balsamo. The Maglia Rosa, Annemiek van Vleuten, appeared at the front, working for her teammate Emma Norsgaard. Knowing their days were numbered, with the sprint teams pressing behind them, the breakaway wasn’t entirely committed. With 17km to go, there was a mere minute between them and the peloton; Giorgia Bariani, unwilling to just wait to be caught, attacked alone off the front of the breakaway. With 12km to go, she had over twenty seconds on the remnants of the breakaway, and over a minute on the peloton.
With 8km to go, the rest of the break were caught; Bariani still had 35 seconds. Under the pressure of the speed from the sprint teams pushing forward, the back of the peloton started to fracture. With just under 5km to go, Bariani, after putting up an admirable fight, was caught. It was now time for the sprint lead-outs to start drag-racing. Jumbo-Visma had worked hard to catch the break; the lead-outs of FDJ, Trek-Segafredo, Ceratizit and BikeExchange all lined up side-by-side on the front.
Unfortunately, as they went through the Flamme Rouge, there was a bad crash under the barrier in the second half of the peloton: Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) was involved. It didn’t affect the sprint leadouts: rounding the final corner, it was Charlotte Kool and Elisa Balsamo who came through it shoulder to shoulder. It was Balsamo who made it across the line first, adding yet more points to her Maglia Ciclamino tally.
Outside the top three, it was Chiara Consonni (Valcar – Travel & Service) who came in fourth, and Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) who came in fifth. There were no GC shakeups, though at this point it would probably take a disaster for the three current podium spots – van Vleuten, Garcia & Cavalli – to change. Mavi Garcia continues to lead the Queen of the Mountains classification, and Niamh Fisher-Black continues to lead the youth classification.