Following on from yesterday’s stage in the hills which proved to be one for the GC riders, today’s flatter terrain lent itself to the sprinters of the bunch; with the team setting out with one goal – to set up Charlotte Kool as finisher for the finale. It was a steady start to proceedings with a few attacks before eventually a five rider move went clear.
The break managed to build up an advantage of almost six minutes before the sprint teams took over the chase, with Juliette Labous doing a lot of strong early work to help bring the gap back. Heading into the final Leah Kirchmann also assisted with the chase while Franziska Koch and Megan Jastrab supported Kool. The break was eventually reeled back in, setting up a fast finale. Biding their time well, the team surged forward at the perfect moment with Koch and Jastrab leading Kool under the flamme rouge and towards the last corner.
Kool took the turn on the outside aiming to carry speed through but Balsamo cut up the inside and exited the corner first. From there it was a 125 metre drag race to the finish and despite carrying a lot of speed and closing the gap all the way to the line, Balsamo held on for the win with Kool taking a strong, albeit bittersweet, second place.