Stage 2 of the Giro Rosa seemed set to be a day for the breakaway, yet culminated in a tense sprint finale.
50km into the race the peloton was still together, but an attack launched Spaniard Sheyla Gutierrez Rui (Cylance Cycling) soon created the major break of the day.
Solo, Sheyla quickly increased the gap on the peloton out to 1’07” with 66 km left to race. Alice Arzuffi (Bizkaia) courageously bridged across, and together the pair managed to gain a 3 minute advantage with only 20 km to go.
Entering the final 15 km it seemed the breakaway duo would have their day. But the peloton finally animated with attacks, the pace increased and the gap to the two riders closed.
With less than 2km to race, the bunch closed in and teams prepared for a sprint finish.
Wiggle High5 were dominant with their Dutch sprinter Kirsten Wild taking line honours ahead of two previous world champions Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) and Marianne Vos (WoawDeals).
“The girls put me in the perfect position in the last 300m and then I just went full gas”, Wild said of her winning move.
Amanda Spratt was the top placed Australian in 9th position, followed by Chloe Hosking (Alé Cipollini) in 16th. Teammates Spratt, Gracie Elvin and Sarah Roy all remain in the top 11 of the General Classification.
#GiroRosa 🇮🇹🎀 Our highest place finisher today @AmandaSpratt -— Mitchelton-SCOTT (@MitcheltonSCOTT) July 7, 2018
“It was a hot and stressful first road stage, we didn’t want any time gaps at the finish so our job was just to stay up there, out of trouble & we did a good job of that.”
📷 @GettyImages pic.twitter.com/UnSlIqYRaI
TeamSunWeb hold onto the General Classification for another day with Lucinda Brand (TeamSunWeb) to wear the maglia rosa for stage 3.
“It’s really good we can keep the jersey in the team. That was the goal today", Brand said.
Stage 3 preview
The third day of racing will take place around the town of Corbetta, on the western outskirts of Milan.
The course is pancake flat and includes 8 laps of a 16.5 km circuit. This will be another day for the sprinters, with less opportunity for a breakaway.
Kirsten Wild may take a second blow, or perhaps it a day for the likes of Chloe Hosking, Hannah Barnes, Jolien D’Hoore or Lotta Lepistö.