A technical time trial on the ninth day of the Giro Rosa proved pivotal in the race as the Maglia Rosa changed shoulders and remained the honour of Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv).
Saturday’s time trial saw Dutch champion Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) take over a minute from former leader Megan Guarnier.
Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) had been in the pink since stage two, but Van der Breggen’s time trial proved formidable over the 21.7km course and she entered the final stage 45 seconds up.
The stage eight time trial was far from a traditional course – taking in twisty descents, hairpins and close to 500 metres of climbing. It drove a wedge through the top five, who entered the day separated by only 36 seconds on General Classification.
Van der Breggen rides for Boels Dolmans, the team of 2014 winner Marianne Vos, who was side lined by injury this year. She reached the finish in 36 minutes, 5 seconds, 1 minute 6 seconds ahead of the former GC leader.
Sunday’s 92.7km stage finished atop a 13km climb to San Domenico di Varzo. The ascent has been used on two previous occasions – and in both cases resulted in a solo win by – Mara Abbott (2013) and Emma Pooley (2014) respectively.
Abbott (Wiggle-Honda) repeated her 2013 performance, taking herself from fifth overall on General Classification, to second place behind overall winner Van der Breggen.
A breakaway consisting of twelve riders formed before the final test, but their attack was futile against a chasing peloton. As the break was swallowed, a smaller group made their way to the for, including Abbott and van der Breggen.
With three kilometres to go, Abbott made her move, proving herself the strongest climber on what was described as the toughest ascent of the ten day race. She rounded the top of the climb and drove for the line almost a minute up on Van der Breggen, in second.
The result was enough for Van der Breggen to finish in the lead overal, 1 minute 30 ahead of Abbott. Guarnier finished 1 minute 46 down, coming fourth in the stage, and third overall.
At the end of the 2015 edition, the jersey holders are:
Pink jersey – General Classification: Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
Ciclamino jersey – Points Jersey: Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
Green jersey – Queen of the Mountains: Flavia Oliveira (Alè-Cipollini)
White jersey – Youth Classification: Katarzyna Niewadoma (Rabo-Liv)
Blue jersey – Best Italian Rider: Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle Honda)
(Featured image: Velo Focus)