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Marianne Vos dedicates 29th Giro d'Italia Donne victory to Jolien Verschueren

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) wins stage 3 at the Giro d'Italia Donne
Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) wins stage 3 at the Giro d'Italia Donne (Image credit: Getty Images)

Marianne Vos (Team Jumbo-Visma) took a record 29th Giro d’Italia Donne stage win in Ovada today on stage 3 of the 10-day race. The 34-year-old’s victory was her 234th career win, cementing her position as ‘the greatest of all time.’ 

Vos dedicated her victory to Belgian cyclo-cross talent Jolien Verschueren, who died on Thursday at the age of 31 after fighting brain cancer for three years. Verschueren was an accomplished cyclo-cross rider and a schoolteacher.

“It's so strange to lose Jolien Verschueren this week due to cancer and then we're here, we think we suffer but there's so much more in life," Vos said in a tearful post-race interview. "I thought about her, and it gave me extra power. I knew how dedicated she was and I wanted to do a special race for her.”  

Vos' history of winning at the Giro d’Italia Donne spans 14 years, since she won stage 2 into Correggio in the 2007 edition of the race. 

Since then, Vos has won at least one stage of every Giro Donne she has started, including in 2012, where she won 5 stages and the GC, and 2014, where she also won the GC and took 4 stage victories.

In recent years, Vos won four stages in 2019 and three stages in 2020, where she also secured the points classification. 

Vos’ Giro d'Italia Donne record of 29 stage wins now outstrips retired German rider Petra Rossner’s wins by 12.

On the stage 3's 135km route from Casale Monferrato to Ovada, Vos spent much of the race in a breakaway with Lucinda Brand, Elise Chabbey, and Liane Lippert.

Vos then comfortably outsprinted her rivals, quashing any doubt in her form that may have arisen after she lost out in a sprint at La Course one week ago. 

With faster rivals such as Coryn Rivera, Emma Norsgaard, and Lisa Brennauer in the peloton behind, the Jumbo-Visma rider was the favourite to take the victory. 

The gap between the break of four and the peloton increased to 3:44 during the stage despite chasing from Ceratizit-WNT and Team BikeExchange. As the breakaway riders got closer to the finish while still maintaining over a two-minute lead, it became clear that they would contest the win between them. 

Brand dropped to the back of the group in an effort to launch off her rivals’ wheels in the sprint and the multidisciplinary rider was the first to start the charge to the line. 

As they came down the finishing straight, however, Vos passed her compatriot, eventually winning by over a bike length to take her record 29th Giro d’Italia Donne victory. 

“Of course it's incredible to win 29 times when you still can do your passion and when you can do what you love,” Vos said.

Given the chance, Vos is likely to contest for stage wins on further occasions this year, particularly on stages 6 and 10, which suit her, and where she could bump up her stage win tally to 30 or more.