Winder: I did not expect to stay away

Majerus and Koppenburg tell about a domestique's day at the Giro Rosa

Ruth Winder (Team Sunweb) won stage 5 of the Giro Rosa on Tuesday, riding into the maglia rosa in the process. After the stage, the US rider was happy about this birthday present she gave herself one day after turning 25, but she also gave credit to her teammates and her fellow escapees, Alice Maria Arzuffi (Bizkaia Durango-Euskadi Murias) and Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops).

"The team did a really good job setting us up before the climb, and we came to the top with about 25 girls," Winder said. "I felt good, so I just put in an attack in order to make it a hard day. I did not expect to stay away, but then I was joined by two really strong riders, and we worked really well together."

Over the final kilometres, the break still had over a minute, and after an attack by Arzuffi was closed down they got ready for the sprint. Winder had confidence in herself as she had reconnoitred the finish beforehand.

"My sprint is really good right now," she said. "We went and had a look at the finish before the start, so I knew that if I went all out with about 250 metres to go just before the tight turns, then my chances were pretty good. I am really happy with the day. We have had the pink jersey for five days now, and the two young girls had the U23 jersey, so every rider on the team has worn a jersey for at least a day. That's really cool."

Arzuffi's solo bid for victory did not get anywhere, and the 23-year-old Italian ended up last of the three escapees. Nevertheless, she was happy after the race. "After trying lots of times, I finally made it to the finish line. This is my first podium in a UCI Women's WorldTour race, so I am very happy. And it is in my favourite road race, in Italy, that makes it even more special. I will try to continue like this in the next days, the hardest stages are coming now, so I will take it day by day."

Before the winning breakaway, the stage was dominated by a big break of 12 riders that was caught with about 50 km to go. The move included riders from many teams, among others the dependable domestiques Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans) and Clara Koppenburg (Cervélo-Bigla). Majerus told the story of a day where she fulfilled her tasks and could be happy with a stage that ended with a 97th place for herself.

"We wanted to race aggressively, putting one of us in a break," Majerus said. "At first, I was in a group of four, it got bigger after a while. The gap was not increasing the way I hoped, and the break was not riding smoothly, so it was a hard day at the front. When we got caught, I brought my teammates in a good position at the bottom of the climb. I finished in the gruppetto, but that is fine as I did my job."

The same rang true for Koppenburg who said it was tough in the break on a windy day. "It was so windy. Just rolling through was super hard, like a 95-kilometre TTT. Even just sitting on the wheel was hard. The bunch was chasing hard from behind, I gave Lotta Lepistö a last lift to the front when we were caught, and then I was done. We had an average speed of 45 km/h until the climb, and most of the girls who were in the break ended up in the gruppetto with me, that tells you how hard it was."

The Giro Rosa continues on Wednesday, July 11, with the first mountaintop finish of the 2018 edition at Gerola Alta after 114.1 km.

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