Yesterday’s stage winner Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-SCOTT) once again showed her turn of speed to take a second consecutive sprint victory on the fourth stage of the Giro Rosa. Despite being dropped on the only categorised climb of the day, the Belgian rider found her legs and was able to come back to the front of the peloton in time to claim another stage win.
After a pan-flat sprint stage yesterday, the sprinters had another opportunity to try again before the race heads to hillier terrain in the coming days. Mitchelton-SCOTT and D’hoore stayed relaxed in the main peloton throughout the stage, working to keep their two general classification leaders safe before turning their attention to the sprint in the final 10 kilometres.
The category three climb, Rivergano, after 52km of racing saw the peloton split with a leading bunch of around 60 riders remaining at the front. It looked like it could be all over for D’hoore after getting dropped over the top of the climb, however, feeling confidence after her victory yesterday, the 28-year-old was determined to get back in contention and did so on the flat run in to the finish as the front bunch eased up slightly.
With 30 kilometres to go, one rider made it hard for the sprint teams with a successful attack that rode out to a maximum advantage of 50 seconds. The peloton worked to make the catch with nine kilometres to go, but a crash in the group shortly after saw splits in the bunch with some of the sprint favourites coming down.
In the end, D’hoore was able to find a good position and have a clear run to the line to take another win ahead of Marta Bastianelli (Alé Cipollini) and Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla Pro Cycling). Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb) retained the overall lead.
“We rode really well today, we always stayed together to keep our general classification leaders safe, also in the final,” said D’hoore. “I did a lot of work and I was dropped on the climb. I didn’t feel like I was having my best day today but everything came back together and again it was a bunch sprint. Once I see the finish I get new legs so again I am really happy to get the victory today.
“Teams were riding the climb really hard, a few of the GC riders were attacking so I was dropped but I had Jess Allen with me. I didn’t panic because I heard on the radio that it was going slowly after the hill so I just kept faith and kept driving it and we got back.
“The last corner I got a bit boxed in and had to come from the back again, so I did a sprint before my actual sprint and I didn’t feel fresh anymore when I started my real sprint but it was enough to win it. For the next coming days I hope for more victories for the team. We are going into the mountains, our GC riders stayed safe today and they are feeling good so I can’t wait for these next days.”