The 30-year-old was part of a 10-rider move that held off the main field before out-kicking Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Sheyla Gutiérrez (Movistar Team) into the city centre after a day littered with heavy showers and autumnal temperatures.
The sprint was always going to be a hard-fought affair given that teams lacked the numbers to control a lead-out but Demi Vollering stepped forward and gave her teammate a fighting chance coming into the final tight right-hander with around 200m to go.
“It was a hectic final. I think the whole final was pretty hectic, but in the end, there was an attack from a Sunweb girl and Demi Vollering, my teammate, tried to catch her back. There was still a small gap after the last corner, but I thought I had to go or otherwise you still lose. It was an early sprint but, otherwise, it went well,” Pieters said at the finish line.
“The whole day was really aggressive. I think we only had one lap where it was quite calm and from that moment we kept attacking from the team and, in the end, we went away with this group, and luckily, we made it. The conditions made the race hard, but I liked it. We wanted to race aggressively, and that side went well.”
Pieters’ stage win puts her second in the overall standings, and tied on the same time as 22-year-old Copponi.
The Dutch rider is the strongest of the two against the clock and the 16.6km individual time trial on stage 3 could see Pieters move into the leader’s blue jersey – although she isn’t getting ahead of herself at this point.
“I don’t think you can ever look forward to a time trial, but I hope I can do well. After tomorrow, we can see how things go but at least we have a stage win and we are happy with that.
"We see how tomorrow goes but I’m already happy with how things are going and any more is extra,” she said.
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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