After yesterday’s opening stage, the peloton was faced with a similarly challenging stage at Itzulia Women today that included over 2000 metres of climbing throughout the 118 kilometre route. From the start a fast pace was set and the bunch blew to bits over the opening ascents, with all Team DSM riders making it into the front split of around 50. Unfortunately however, Francesca Barale was involved in a crash and stopped the race.
Eventually things calmed down and a breakaway formed out front, but they were never given too large a gap. Heading onto the final categorised climb with just over 20 kilometres to go it was all back together and the high pace returned. Riding well as a group, the team followed early attacks before it became a race of attrition as riders had to drop one-by-one. Fresh off the announcement of her renewed contract, Juliette Labous rode strongly to make it into a front split of five over the climb; forming the group that would go on to fight for the stage win.
Meanwhile, Liane Lippert, Floortje Mackaij and Esmée Peperkamp fought brilliantly together to return to the small chasing group behind Labous. Heading into the finale, Labous dug as deep as she could on the punchy uphill finish claiming a fine fifth place while Mackaij showed a good turn of speed to take eighth; making for a double top ten finish on the day for the team.