Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team has delivered a steady performance in the very fast eighth stage of the 2018 Giro Rosa. Megan Guarnier maintained her position among the favourites, while the rest of the team rode attentively at the front all day. The stage was won by Marianne Vos (Waowdeals).
The 125-kilometer stage in the vineyard area of Breganze offered plenty of beautiful views, but not a lot of riders will have been able to enjoy it. Already on the first climb of the day, the peloton stretched out and a group of about 70 riders managed to make the split. All seven Boels-Dolmans riders were represented in it.
"There was a high speed in the peloton right from the start," Anna Plichta said. "We had a two category-2 climbs early in the stage with an average gradient of about 8%. The second one was a GPM and a lot of riders got dropped on that climb."
"Between the climbs was not too long," Plichta continued. "So not everyone was able to come back before we hit that GPM climb. After that, the front group was gone."
With three Mitchelton-Scott riders having missed the first peloton, leaving pink jersey wearer Annemiek van Vleuten and number two overall Amanda Spratt with only one helper left, teams were eager to keep the pace going.
It never really cooled down after this point. Several attacks were made, by Anna Plichta, Amy Pieters and Luxembourg champion Christine Majerus among others, but none of them stuck.
"We did well, because we were all in the first group," said Plichta. "We had the numbers, so it was up to us to try something. We were hoping it was a good day for a breakaway, so we all tried a lot."
“Once I created a small break with Jasinska from Movistar, and Amy also stayed away with a nice group for a while. Neither worked though. I think the main problem was that all the teams were trying to do the same, so there was always a certain team missing in that particular break."
The group stayed together until the very last climb, where riders started to get dropped on the way to the top and the descent that followed.
Three riders took a gap on the way down and it was Vos who sprinted to the win ahead of Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5) and Lucinda Brand (Team Sunweb). Van Vleuten passed the line 25 seconds later to retain her pink jersey.
“Comparing the Giro to last year’s edition, I feel there are more people along the course cheering us on,” Plichta reflected about the 2018 edition of the race. “Some stages have been extremely hard, but I very much enjoy being here with the team. There’s a good atmosphere and we are really motivated.”
“There are still two days ahead,” Plichta concluded. “Tomorrow is the Zoncolan climb, so that will be the Queen’s stage. I’m so happy to do that. Every day is a new day, so we will see what tomorrow will bring us.”
The Monte Zoncolan comes at the end of a 104-kilometer stage with start in Tricesmo. There is an initial route before the peloton sets sails to the climb that also featured in the 2018 edition of the men’s Giro d’Italia. The finish is expected around 3.10pm CET.