Marianne Vos has, so far, missed out on recording a 30th stage victory at the Giro d’Italia Donne. The Jumbo-Visma rider secured her remarkable 29th victory on stage 3 and then took back-to-back third places in stage 5 in Curgate and stage 6 in Colico.
However, with four stages still to come, Vos looks primed to add another stage victory, or two, to her palmares, and it could come as soon as Thursday's stage 7 into Puegnago Del Garda.
Vos is the most successful stage hunter in the Giro d’Italia Donne by some margin – next in the ranking with 18 stages won between 1988 and 1999 by Germany’s Petra Rossner.
She started this year’s race with 28 stage wins, and has already took one victory on the hilly stage 3, going into a breakaway and outsprinting her companions with ease. On stage 5, she finished third behind Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), and on stage 6, she finished another third place behind Norsgaard and Coryn Rivera (Team DSM).
“It was a very hectic stage around Lake Como. The speed in the peloton was high all day, but the team was able to keep me out of the wind,” the 34-year-old Dutchwoman looked back on stage 6.
“They also made sure the two escapees were caught in time and positioned me well in the last kilometre. I felt I was ready for the sprint, but in the end, I came a bit too short in terms of pure speed to win. I am happy that I was able to get a podium place again,” she finished.
Vos’ first Giro stage win came at the age of 20 when she won stage 2 of the 2007 edition. Since then, each of her nine previous participations in the Italian stage race has brought Vos at least one stage win, but often many more.
She won five stages each in 2011 and 2012 and four stages each in 2014 and 2019, also winning the race overall in 2011, 2012, and 2014.
Stage 7 is the next opportunity for Vos to add to her winning tally and reach the mark of 30 stage wins. The stage is held close to the Lago di Garda, mainly on a circuit around Puegnago di Garda, and the finish line comes 500 metres after a 1,500-metre climb.
The average gradient of 4.8 per cent means that Vos should be able to follow the strongest punchers, but it is likely too hard for the pure sprinters like Wiebes and Norsgaard, who beat Vos in the previous stages’ sprints.
Stage 8 is a pan-flat affair and likely to see another bunch sprint. Wiebes and Norsgaard will probably be too strong for Vos here, but her 15 years of experience may just give Vos the edge over her younger rivals.
The mountaintop finish on stage 9 will be a day for the climbers, but the final stage 10 to Cormòns is almost ideal for Vos.
It includes four classified climbs, the last one cresting with just under ten kilometres to the finish. The 34-year-old allrounder should be able to stay with the best here and can then count on her sprint, whether it is in a small group or a reduced peloton.
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