After yesterday’s opening prologue, the peloton were in action today for the first road stage proper of the Giro Donne – faced with a 106 kilometre long route from Villasimius to Tortolì. Despite some hills along the way it looked set to be a stage that would be fought out by the sprinters, with the team looking to set up finisher Charlotte Kool in the finale.
Nonetheless, it was an active start to the day with a lot of attacks and a fierce battle to take the opening Queen of the Mountains classification; before a breakaway duo forged on. Four more riders launched a counter attack and the now leading group of six held onto a three minute advantage at around 40 kilometres to go. As the kilometres ticked by, the gap slowly dwindled, while the team conserved energy in the bunch ahead of the finale.
All was back together at ten kilometres to go, setting up a fast finale. Moving forward well en masse the team took to the front at around six kilometres remaining, holding their position at the front of the bunch. Through a few twisting and technical turns as the line approached the bunch strung out, but the team did well to keep Kool towards the front. Launching a powerful sprint from around sixth wheel, Kool came past several riders and was closing in on winner Balsamo as the line flew underneath her; ultimately taking a strong third place – a promising result for the days to come.