Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) was narrowly denied victory by a faster Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) on stage 10 at the Giro d'Italia Donne, but the Briton is proud to have walked away with second place on the day and fourth overall at the 10-day race.
"It was a really hard race. We had two objectives at the start of the race; to retain the mountain classification for Lucinda [Brand] and for me to stay in fourth place on GC," Deignan said following the stage into Cormons.
"To be in the breakaway so early in the stage was not in the plan. I didn't pack my pockets for a 100-kilometre breakaway but we went well together, we maintained the break, got the mountains classification, and then I just had to do what I could.
"I couldn't even think straight anymore [in the final sprint], and you need to be able to think straight when you're trying to beat Coryn Rivera in a sprint. I feel like a raisin, I'm finished."
Deignan was part of a decisive five-rider breakaway on the final stage of the 10 days from Capriva del Friuli to Cormons on Sunday. Also in the move was her teammate and mountain classification leader Lucinda Brand, maglia rosa Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx), Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM), and Rivera.
They worked well together and Brand picked up points over the day's four categorised ascents to secure the green mountains jersey before falling off pace in the closing kilometres of the stage.
Deignan started the sprint into Cormons but was passed on the line by Rivera, while Chabbey finished third and Van der Breggen fourth, to secure her fourth overall title at the Giro d'Italia Donne.
Trek-Segafredo came into the race with a goal of working for Italian Champion Elisa Longo Borghini. Together they won the opening team time trial that put Ruth Winder in the first maglia rosa, however, a bad day on stage 2 saw Longo Borghini lose too much time in the overall classification.
In the end, Deignan was the highest placed from the team in the GC and maintained fourth place after stage 10, finishing 6:39 behind Van der Breggen.
"I came here to work for Elisa, and of course, I think she showed a huge amount of character and courage to continue to fight every day. We know how much she put into this race, and of course that gave me motivation to do as much as I could for the team. I maintained the fourth position overall and that was, realistically, the best I could have done in this race," Deignan said.
"As a team, I think we did our best, every single day we fought for a victory. We were the best team in the race. Our only proof of that is the team time trial at the start. I would have been nice to finish it today, to give the girls a victory, but I'm really proud of the way we raced."
Brand secured a total of 47 points to win the mountains classification ahead of SD Worx teammates Ashleigh Moolman Pasio and Van der Breggen.
"It was a Giro that was full of action, and that made it fun and fast, but also really hard. I have nothing left after today," Brand said.
"I am super happy that we could keep the green jersey because it's a nice prize for the whole team. We raced so well. I didn't work out to win a stage, but we did a great race here."
Brand paid tribute to her teammate Bauke Mollema, who won stage 14 at the Tour de France the previous day. She said it motivated her team in their aggressive approach to the Giro d'Italia Donne that saw them in the breakaway almost every day.
"We were aggressive and wanted to keep trying," Brand said. "You saw it yesterday in the Tour de France, if you never give up, a win will return to you, and we tried to keep that motivation [at the Giro] as well. In the end, we didn't get it [individual stage win] but we have the green jersey to take home."
Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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