Stage six of the Giro Rosa was was won with a solo breakaway from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's Mayuko Hagiwara.
The five time Japanese National Champion attacked at the foot of the final climb on the 104km stage, fishing 24 seconds ahead of Maglia Rosa holder, Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolams) in second.
[related_articles]Bigla's Ashleigh Moolan-Pasio was in third and the result means American champion Guarnier maintains her lead on GC, eleven seconds ahead of Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) with three stages to go.
Often taking a domestique role, the win was the biggest victory in Hagiwara's career. Her job on the day was in fact to attack as much as possible, making it hard for the other teams, and keeping Wiggle Honda's GC contenders Elida Longo-Borghini and Mara Abbott fresh.
She said: "It was very special for me, and a very big result. But today was really for teamwork, and I didn’t care if I was caught. Until the finish line I thought the bunch would catch me, because they were only a few seconds behind and are strong riders. But I didn’t care because Elisa and Mara were there, and I can do my best and my all. It was my job today... just to give my all for the team, that’s how I could give everything today."
She added: "Still I can’t believe it, but tomorrow there is also a race, and there are three hard stages left, so now my head is only for tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and Sunday."
The stage from Tresivo to Morbegno featured two classified climbs. Hagiwara escaped on the first climb, along with five riders, and they built up a lead of over three minutes. However, the Pink Jersey group was closing on them and at the foot of the second climb the peloton was as one.
Knowing the effort would have spent some legs in the peloton, Hagiwara attacked again - she said: "On the final climb we were together, so I tried an attack and no one followed me, so I was alone and gave everything. I wanted to make it harder for the other teams."
With 25km to go, she had a lead of over two minutes, making her the virtual leader, until the gap was reduced to 1 minute 46 at the top of the climb. That lead came down to 24 seconds by the finish, but that was more than enough for a comfortable win.
The 128km stage featured a mountain top finish, and Ferrand-Prevot attacked with only 2km to go,taking with her Francesca Cauz (Ale Cipollini). Together they built up a 15 second lead, but with 1km to go, the French rider dug deep and pushed the pace, dropping Cauz who was swallowed by the chasers.
Ferrand-Prevot celebrated a solo victory ahead of the sprint, won by Guarnier. Behind Guarnier was her closest GC rival, Anna Van der Breggen.
GC Standings After Stage Six:
2. Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) +11"
3. Ashleigh Moolman (Bigla) +14"
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-Honda) +25"
5. Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) +28"
6. Katazyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) +30"
7. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle-Honda) +33"
8. Mara Abbott (Wiggle-Honda) +53"
9. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot (Rabo-Liv) +2’01"
10. Roxane Knetemann (Rabo-Liv) +2’14"