Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) surprised with an eighth-place performance during the stage 4 mountain time trial at the Giro d'Italia Donne. Although her performance bumped her up to fourth place in the overall classification, she remains an almost unassailable 5:53 behind the maglia rosa Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx).
“I'm surprised with my TT. I cannot remember the last time I did a full gas time trial. Normally, they're rest days for me," Deignan said.
"It’s been a long time, but obviously I do these 20-min tests in training, so I just focused on trying to my threshold power. It seemed to work out. I couldn’t have gone harder; I think I paced it pretty well, so I am happy with my performance.”
Deignan is the highest placed rider from the Trek-Segafredo team in the overall classification at the Giro. They won the opening team time trail and put Ruth Winder in the first leader's jersey.
However, the summit finish to Prato Nevoso on stage 2 all but put an end to the team's GC hopes after Elisa Longo Borghini had a bad day and lost more than eight minutes to van der Breggen. Deignan finished as their top rider at the summit and has since floated between fourth, fifth and back to fourth place overall.
The Giro d'Italia Donne is known for throwing in particularly difficult time trials, many of them on steep uphill slopes, which have caused major separations between the GC contenders.
This year's 11.2km time trial was held along and uphill route between Formazza and Cascate del Toce, where Van der Breggen won with a time of 24:58 to beat her SD Worx teammate Demi Vollering by 1:05 and third-placed Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) by 1:16. Deignan finished in eighth at 2:20 back and Longo Borghini finished 10th at 2:38.
“It was a nice time trial I think. Personally, I felt OK, not super but OK. I am not completely satisfied, and I expect a little bit more from myself," Longo Borghini said following the time trial.
"It was a strong and fast effort but not enough for a podium place. And I am just sorry for this. We have to take the best possible out of today. At the moment I am like this and there is nothing more to say, but we still have chances in the next stages."
The racing continues with the stage 5 122km race from Milano to Carugate where it is anticipated to be a bunch sprint.
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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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