Giro Donne: Double day on stage three puts Evie Stevens in the pink
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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Giro Donne: Double day on stage three puts Evie Stevens in the pink

by Ben Atkins at 10:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
Stage victory in the mountains gives American all-rounder the race lead

evie stevensEvie Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) rode herself into the race lead of the 2012 Giro d’Italia Femminile, between Vernio and Castiglione dei Pepoli, with a late solo attack. The American jumped clear of a four-rider group in the final two and a half kilometres, leaving race leader Marianne Vos (Rabobank), Emma Pooley (AA and five-time race winner Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Honda) behind.

Stevens crossed the line twenty seconds clear of the three-way sprint for second, which was taken by Luperini, ahead of Pooley, with Vos a further eleven seconds back. Time bonuses on the line for Stevens, and with Vos missing out, meant that the American took the first Maglia Rosa of her career.

"I'm so excited," said Stevens. "I wanted to come here to the Giro and give it everything and today was the first stage that I thought I could do something. It was fun racing and worked out really well for us in the end.

"This is only stage three so we have six to go and some hard racing again but we're looking forward to giving it everything until the end."

The 124km stage was dominated by a long, solo attack from Linda Villumsen (Orica-GreenEdge), who got away on the first climb of the day inside the first 30km. The Danish-born New Zealander managed to build a lead that reached 4’30” at one time, but was reeled in before she could reach the top of the final climb of the Passo della Futa, and was caught with less than three kilometres to climb.

Stevens and Pooley attacked immediately, and were joined by Luperini as they hit the summit; Vos managed to bridge across with five kilometres to go, but was powerless to prevent Stevens’ late attack. The American took the pink jersey from the Dutchwoman and, with just three of the nine stages out of the way, the 2012 Giro Donne already looks to be down to just four riders.

Reactions to follow

Linda Villumsen goes long into the mountains but Evie Stevens comes out smiling on the other side

The peloton was all together for the opening kilometres, as Shelley Olds (AA won the intermediate sprint on Vernio’s Via Roma, after 26.8km ahead of Vos and her AA teammate Lizzie Armitstead.

As the race hit the climb to Montepiano shortly afterwards however, Villumsen attacked. Over the top of the climb, after 36km, the New Zealander had opened up a lead of 2’11” over the fracturing peloton, and had opened this up to 2’20” after a technical descent.

The gap was closed to 1’20” by a group of just 40 riders, but it began to grow again as Monia Baccaille (MCipollini-Giambenini) and Katazyna Sosna (Vaiano-Tepso) set off in pursuit. At the mid point of the stage Villumsen’s advantage over the peloton was stretching to over three minutes; as she crossed the second intermediate sprint line, in Scarperia after 71.7km, the Orica-GreenEdge rider was 2’10” ahead of her two pursuers, and four minutes ahead of the peloton.

As Villumsen arrived at the foot of the Passo della Futa - which would be the Cima Coppi as the highest climb of the entire Giro - her lead began to come down a little, but opened up to 4’30” on the lowere slopes. As Vos’ Rabobank team led the remainder of the peloton up the climb they quickly picked up Baccaille and Sosna, and steadily closed in on the New Zealander.

With three kilometres still to climb Villumsen was just 35 seconds ahead of the main group, and she was caught shortly afterwards.

There was an immediate attack from Stevens and Pooley; they were quickly chased and joined by Luperini and, as Pooley led them over the top, they were clear of the remains of the peloton.

Vos set out in pursuit on the descent however, and joined up with the leading trio with five kilometres to go. With two and a half to go though, Stevens attacked on the steady drag to the finish and the others could do nothing to stop her. The American rode alone to take her second Giro Donne stage; Luperini outsprinted Pooley to take second after 20 seconds, with Vos taking third, some 31 seconds back.

2009 race winner Claudia Häusler (Orica-GreenEdge) was the best of the rest, some 2’02” behind Stevens, with Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products-Mistral Home) leading a small group over after 2’21”.

Result stage 3
1. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon
2. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Honda @ 20s
3. Emma Pooley (GBr) AA
4. Marianne Vos (Ned) Stichting Rabobank @ 31s
5. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Orica-GreenEdge @ 2’02”
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products-Mistral Home @ 2’21”
7. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
8. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Lotto-Belisol @ 2’22”
9. Judith Arndt (Ger) Orica-GreenEdge @ 2’30”
10. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Stichting Rabobank @ 5’17”

Standings after stage 3
1. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Stichting Rabobank @ 12s
3. Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drink @ 31s
4. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Honda Team @ 1'01”
5. Judith Arndt (Ger) Orica-GreenEdge @ 2’35”
6. Claudia Hausler (Ger) GreenEdge @ 2’39”
7. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giambenini @ 2’41”
8. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products Mistral @ 2’51”
9. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Lotto-Belisol @ 5’30”
10. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Stichting Rabobank


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