Today's flat stage played out as expected, until the end when confusion at the finish line resulting in disappointment for Rabo Liv's Lucinda Brand. A few attacks were made on early on in the race but nothing stuck going into the finish. In the final sprint Rabo Liv's Lucinda Brand went for the stage win, but in the final moments, Alé-Cipollini’s Shelley Olds started to close in on her. That's when Marianne Vos stepped on the gas, crossing the line first to ensure a Rabo Liv victory.
Final results: Marianne Vos 1st, Shelley Olds 2nd, Lucinda Brand 3rd.
Marianne's lead in the GC is increased to +31s over teammate Pauline Prevot Ferrand, and +39s over Elisa Borghini Longo (Hitec). GC favorites Mara Abbot (UHC) and Evelyn Stevens (Spec-Lulu) are still minutes out from Vos at 11th and 12th, respectively.
Tomorrow will be the last flat stage so we expect the sprinters to go all out. Then we hit the hills and see who will put the pressure on Rabo Liv's lead.
Cecilie Gotaas Johnsen (left), Julie Leth (middle), and Ashleigh Moolman (right) of team Hitec. [Image: Wei Yuet Wong for Bicycle Magazine]
The crowds. [Image: @ianunico]
Lining up at the start. [Image: Dalia Muccioli]
Riders strung out after they take a sharp turn through town. [Image: @martinella2009]
Confusion at the final sprint. Marianne Vos (right/pink jersey) takes the win. [Image: Giro Rosa Cycling]
Champagne shower! [Image: VeloFocus]XX