Marianne Vos’ win at the Giro d’Italia Donne on Saturday was not only her 31st stage victory at the race – with the Jumbo-Visma rider continuing to set her formidable record ever higher – but is also a clear sign that the Dutchwoman has worked her way back to her impressive best following a road season build that has been interrupted by COVID-19.
The 35-year-old started the 2022 season later than most, to allow for some recovery time after winning her eighth cyclo-cross world title in January, and then just as she’d built up to a key season goal, the Paris-Roubaix Femmes in April, she tested positive for COVID-19. Her spring race tally was just three and then on her return there were just two more race days through May and June, the Veenendaal-Veenendaal classic and the Dutch national championships.
Vos said in an interview in May that although she did not have any signs of illness when she tested positive at Paris Roubaix: “I then did develop some symptoms but I wasn’t that sick – throat soreness and a persistent cold mostly. But it lingered. The moment I picked up the bike again, I noticed that when it came to endurance especially, it really had an impact.”
Vos spent time training at altitude after recovering and has shown at the Giro Donne that she has now managed to build back the form she had earlier in the year.
Despite the lack of race days she still sprinted to second place on Friday’s stage two behind Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) and ahead of Charlotte Kool (Team DSM). On Saturday’s stage, Vos managed to turn the tables on Balsamo and Kool – both more than 10 years her junior – to claim her 31st Giro Donne victory.
Her enduring supremacy has seen Vos win stages across 11 separate editions of the Giro Donne over the years. At last year’s race she won three stages to round up to thirty wins in total. Vos’s total career wins amount to over 200 across cyclo-cross, road, track, and mountain bike – a total which means she is regularly labelled the ‘GOAT’ (greatest of all time).
Vos’ form at the Giro shows that she also now in a good position to start a new tally at the Tour de France Femmes, where she will race for stage wins alongside her Jumbo-Visma teammates.
Vos has already taken a victory on the Champs-Elysées – where the first stage of the Tour de France Femmes will take place – at the inaugural edition of La Course in 2014 and will be looking to repeat that feat.
She will, however, be contending with the fastest sprinter in the women’s peloton in the form of Kool’s teammate, Lorena Wiebes, and may therefore have to target some of the punchier stages.
Despite her significant tally of Giro Donne wins, Vos reacts to every victory with equal delight and will have an extra day to soak in this one as the race moves on from the three opening stages in Sardinia.
“We are going to go to the mainland and we have a first ever rest day so I will enjoy that first and enjoy this victory and of course we will see in the next days what opportunities are coming up,” said Vos after the stage.
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