31st Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile (2.WWT)

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Oh, it was on very large paved stone tiles, much bigger than cobbles but not tarmac. A bit worn, but no different to a few you see elsewhere. We've definitely seen similarly bad on some of the hilltop finishes in Tirreno-Adriatico and some of the small Italian races before, but those aren't usually flat finishes with sprint speeds on them. The other issue is that the very cobbled-together (pun intended) nature of this Giro route means that there's a bit of straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back about it. The organisers have done a lot of work just to get us a Giro Rosa this year, but as a result some of the organisation has left a bit to be desired. We've had gravel rougher than anything you see in Strade Bianche, re-routings of multiple stages due to road conditions including a stage finish being moved down the hill the day of the stage itself; narrow and sharp corners and technical finishes that are courting catastrophe almost as much as that insane Norwich finish in the Women's Tour a few years ago with a flat sage with a pinch point at 800m to go and then several corners within the last 250m. It was inevitable that at some point it would come to a head and there would be a crash; a lot of key names were involved. It seems like Vos has no lasting damage; FDJ reported Cille was held up but not impacted, other reports suggest she was involved. The big question is going to be Mitchelton and their two injuries as that's their top 2 riders, 2 of last year's podium and obviously the current maglia rosa. Lots of people reported Annemiek's own personal suspicion as fact in the immediate aftermath but it definitely did not look good at all for her.
The crash happened earlier, on normal asphalt.
 
One thing we've got to acknowledge though is that Maria Novolodskaya is pretty tenacious, being out there in the counter, and then dumping everybody else off the back to have another solo dart so soon after yesterday's disaster befell her. It was a bit more naïvely optimistic on her part today though, with the punchy climb coming after she'd already been out there for a while and suited to a bit of action from GC-minded riders behind, as opposed to yesterday when all the climbs had been dispensed with and so the GC teams would have been happy to let sprint-minded teams do all the work as with Novolodskaya not a GC threat, they would see no problem in letting her solo in. Some pretty good action on the climb, mind, with all the key protagonists involved. Poor Elisa, always gets worked over with that lack of a sprint weapon. Very interesting ahead of tomorrow's big decisive climb to see that van der Breggen was charged with chasing down Longo Borghini, and while van Vleuten and Uttrup followed very comfortably, Niewiadoma had to grimace a bit, after having come into the race with better form - Anna VDB had a couple of rough days in the punchy stages but seems to have recovered her mojo. Harvey was the highest-placed GC rider dropped, but she has plenty of minutes in hand on Lippert for the maglia bianca. Strictly speaking Cavalli is closer to her for it, but only by 7 seconds and in the last few days Lippert has clearly been more visible and more active than her. However, Harvey and García did a great job of riding tempo to come back to the group after the impetus went out of the heads of state, and clearly she's pretty good at managing her efforts to have survived as well as she did on stage 2. We also learnt that Mavi García descends like you might expect a Spanish climber who didn't turn pro until 30 years old to do...

As Mayo points out, though, the crash was actually before the move onto the paving stones - looks like the typical issue that is precisely why I don't think installing a "3km to go GC line" as was suggested for men's races a while ago in the wake of the Groenewegen/Jakobsen crash would work - it would simply move the rush 3km down the road, as everybody knows what the all important point is and has to compete to be in the right position when it comes. The initial impact looks to have been caused by Marianne Vos touching Liane Lippert's back wheel. It's hard to say whether that is the cause of, or the effect of, Mavi García hitting the brakes as she'd obviously got too close as well. Lippert seems to move a little to her right but her bike isn't stable at that point so that suggests she might have already been touched by somebody else at that point.

Without any helicams it's hard to tell but it's hard to pick out any direct cause before Vos touches Lippert's back wheel, and it certainly seems García is reacting to a situation developing, but perhaps her braking is a natural panic reaction that worsens the situation with the bunch tight together on the left hand side of the road, and Annemiek is riding behind Spratt who is alongside/slightly behind Lippert at the time so are clearly collateral damage. Deignan is moving into the space that Vos is vacating but I can't see much more than Vos seeing the opportunity to get Lippert's wheel as the door has been left open by a less experienced pack rider, and Vos just misjudges the speed and goes in a bit too soon. It doesn't look to me like Deignan squeezes her. FDJ's tweet was absolutely right, Cille was held up but she stayed upright, just about, but it loooks like Annemiek is down on the pavement with her right hand hanging over into the road and we're probably millimetres away from Cille's front wheel breaking Annemiek's other wrist too. On the replay Annemiek's left arm was trapped underneath her body so she had nothing with which to break her fall, so she's probably lucky it's just a wrist and she hasn't hit her head, so while it's terrible that she will have to withdraw from the maglia rosa, so it's going to be a bit like Herrera's Vuelta or Gotti's second Giro for whoever takes it in the end, she could certainly have been a lot more unfortunate. Sucks that in this time compressed calendar, though, a few weeks off the bike will mean missing out on far more than would have been the case in an ordinary year.

However, every injury she's had so far has only made Annemiek stronger. I thought this was already super saiyan form, but if she has further reinventions to come, that could be terrifying.

As for the actual stage, I would have loved to see how Kopecky would have fared against a Vos that remained upright there. Lotte made absolute mincemeat of Lizzie Deignan, and we know Deignan is proven quality and this was a finish that suited the Briton too. Also, for the second day in a row, Niewiadoma picking up 4" on GC rivals on the line - she may have not looked as comfortable on the cat.3 at the end there but she was strong at the line to pick up bonus seconds as well with an uncharacteristically good sprint placement, albeit a sprint of mostly climbers. This actually reminded me in some ways of André Greipel winning that uphill sprint in the Volta ao Algarve ahead of Roelandts and Samu - Kopecky is obviously nothing like as pure a sprinter as Greipel is, but she was clearly the strongest sprinter remaining once she gapped Deignan and for a sprint victory to end up with a clear timegap like that is rare. Also, having said about how Lippert looks like the biggest threat to Harvey's maglia bianca, Cavalli beat the German on the line, but I still maintain given how they looked relative to one another on the climb that Liane is the only serious threat to Harvey holding that jersey to the finish unless she blows up. Muzic was climbing pretty decently in fairness but she might be likely to be pressed into action to protect Cille with Fahlin having had to withdraw.

Of course, no Annemiek really, really changes the complexion of tomorrow. Canyon are now the hunted, with Kasia in the virtual GC lead (I don't know if they'll have her wear the maglia rosa, situations like this are rare) but with only 15" over Anna VDB and 1'15" over Cecilie. Harvey's at 2'33" but realistically the other podium challenger is likely to be ELB at effective 2'44", with an outside shot for Moolman-Pasio at 2'46". Mavi García is close but she was caught up badly in the crash as well; ELB's attacking riding in the last few days because she thought the GC had gone has been really exciting, but now the chance is genuinely there for her to at least podium - the problem is she has to crack one of the three who are currently already there to do so; Cille has outclimbed her comfortably, Kasia has raced really smart and Anna has lain low for a couple of days and looked much better again today. Harvey and Moolman-Pasio were both dropped by the original moves made by ELB today, but tomorrow's climb is a much tougher beast so we shall see if that plays into their hands or eliminates them from contention. And as she's now 10 minutes ahead of Labous and the last roll of the dice for GC relevance for Sunweb, we might also learn just where Lippert's climbing threshold is; this is a bit bigger than the Epynt climb that broke her and cost her the lead in the Tour of Britain last year, but she's also another year stronger and smarter now.

It's a tough break for Annemiek, and she was almost nailed on to win this from where she was in the race and with the MTF of sorts tomorrow to come, and the victory for whoever eventually does wind up victorious is likely to be a bit hollower in feeling than they might have expected and they'll always have to deal with the feeling that it isn't really their Giro. It was going to be an interesting battle to see which 2 of the 3 obvious contenders made up the rest of the podium... it's just that now there's a secondary race to see if Longo Borghini can depose one of the 3 obvious podium competitors too, which probably wouldn't have been contested as aggressively had it only been for 4th.
 
Imagine AVV’s palmares if she didn’t crash in some races she appeared to have in the bag already. Just terrible luck today.

the only positive is that a race that was essentially over is now set for a huge battle, but really nobody wants to win because a dominant leader crashed

round of applause for Novolodskaya, someone we will be hearing from regularly in the future
 
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It could be a long drawn out season for Mitchelton - AVV probably out for the season, while Spratt is out for at least a week or two or three - To make it worse their Aussie/NZ contingent who went home during lockdown have been woefully out of form.
 
I think that's particularly interesting considering the (at least initial) success New Zealand had in dealing with the virus has been earmarked as a reason for the success of Harvey and Fisher-Black as they've been able to continue to develop 'normally' at a key time for them as young riders.

Today, before they even get to the race's toughest climb - a 3,3km @ 12% leg-brutaliser followed by a short descent and puncheuse finish - they're going to have to deal with strong and challenging crosswinds.

The race has split into three, with a group tailed off in the flat section, and now from the front group, a small attack move has come together. A fair few of these are rouleuses taking advantage of the wind, a couple are making moves for teammates, and others yet are trying to salvage a race for their team. Lucy Kennedy is perhaps the clearest stagehunter here, with Spratt and van Vleuten withdrawing, while Pauliena Rooijakkers and Ruth Winder being up the road could be an invaluable help to their leaders later plus to a slightly lesser extent some of the more power-oriented riders like Rivera, Brennauer and Amy Pieters who are nevertheless interesting puzzle pieces if riders fancy a bit of a dart given the sudden openness of the GC. Quite a few 'usual suspects' for being active in this race are in the group also - Katia Ragusa, Jelena Erič - along with Maria Novolodskaya, for whom this has been quite the week. Ragusa has been contesting every GPM and intermediate sprint, and with Cille not there this time she took max points on the first climb of the day.

It seems in the group behind, best represented teams are Canyon who have 3 riders (I'd anticipate on the week's evidence it's Amialiusik, Shapira and of course Niewiadoma, though Hannah Barnes is a possibility with the split not having been forced on the climb), and Sunweb who have 3 (plus Rivera up the road)(I would assume Labous, Lippert and Mackaij), although several riders are making it across from group 3 to group 2 as the impetus goes down after the finish of the climb. VDB only had Pieters, who has then taken some pressure off her by getting into the attack move meaning Anna need provide no commitment to chase, but meaning she will have to service herself unless anybody has made the junction jumping across from behind, probably most likely Canuel from the squad I would have anticipated.
 
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Carnage breaking out. Anna VDB into virtual maglia rosa, she and ELB are head of the field, Niewiadoma 30" behind! The rest of an elite group of 9 spread out over the road - Uttrup, Harvey, Lippert, Moolman-Pasio, Deignan and Fisher-Black the remainder, no idea where they all are now, Ceratizit-WNT and Trek-Segafredo have some streams of the finish, but reports are understandably focusing on the battle for the win...

Elisa Longo Borghini is your stage winner! Her first ever stage of the Giro (!!!!!!!!!!)

Anna VDB unsurprisingly comes in 2nd and will be the new maglia rosa holder. Mikayla Harvey with an incredible final climb, riding back to and passing Niewiadoma for 3rd! Cille 5th and Niewiadoma 6th so not sure who came in in 4th, would bank on Ash from that group but you never know with this topsy-turvy season and with impressive surprises like Harvey.

No idea of time gaps yet (other than there's no time gap between ELB and Anna VDB) to know the implication on the GC other than that van der Breggen has assumed the lead. I think we'd probably have heard about it had Harvey or ELB done enough to depose Cille from 3rd so I'm anticipating tonight it will probably be 1 Anna 2 Kasia 3 Cille 4 Elisa 5 Harvey, but hard to tell just now especially not knowing who was 4th.

Sunweb now confirm Lippert in 8th, so that leaves Ash, Lizzie and Niamh Fisher-Black from the original group of 9 to place.

Edit: so it seems 4th comes from behind that group, an excellent recovery ride from Katrine Aalerud for Team Movistar! She obviously likes it really steep, she was top 10 to Monte Zoncolan too. She was at +1'07" and also finished alone, so the time gaps are pretty notable it seems... enough that even if Cille was only a few seconds behind, once the bonuses are taken into account Elisa must be able to smell the podium now, having proven herself stronger on the main climb today and with a circuit race of climbing tomorrow...

Edit 2: Niewiadoma's time gap now announced as +1'20" so Cille's is between 1'07 and 1'20 of the 1'31" she had over ELB plus the time bonus of 10" that Elisa will have got on the line! That's very tight indeed.

Edit 3: Canyon say Niewiadoma is provisionally 7th, every other source still has her 6th. Mostly still question marks about 7th, one source suggests it's Pauliena Rooijakkers, which is a great ride for her, and she is a fantastic climber but having been in the break up the road for much of the day that would have affected how strong she would be on the final climb, you'd have thought - though a shame for CCC if both Ash and Marianne have been on bad days as they would probably have needed to be for Pauliena to have been cut loose to ride for herself like that.
 
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Formalised now - see here.

Ride of the day has to be (sorry stage winner/GC leader) Mikayla Harvey. Did Cille and Kasia ride themselves too hard trying to stay with Anna and Elisa and blow themselves up? Perhaps. The podium battle and the GC win can do that to you. But if that's the case then in some ways it would make Harvey's race even better because she would have raced a smarter and more sensible race than two of the péloton's elite talents and, though both are still only 25 (albeit Kasia is 26 next week), two riders who have been established among the major talents of the women's péloton for a few years now. Harvey is having her breakout season and she just rode away from them. And if it isn't a piece of tactical, conservational riding and she just happened to be a minute stronger than them on the climb? Then we have a serious name to consider for the foreseeable future.

Elsewhere, it looks like this climb, actually, is within Lippert's remit, she was only 12" behind the GC podium fighters, and she's also only 22, but a lot more established than Harvey at this stage. Cavalli being 9th on the day, also in contention for the maglia bianca, is also a very strong performance, and a real boon for Valcar who have been the best of the smaller Italian teams for certain (I count Alé as a medium-sized team along with the Movistars and Paule Kas of the world). All 3 are taking the scalps of people like Santesteban and even more so Moolman-Pasio. Niamh Fisher-Black continues her strong showing in 11th and Evita Muzic was 14th - so lots of young guns right up there in the mix, although of course we do have to accept it is perhaps slightly artificial with veteran names like 37-year-old van Vleuten and (newly) 33-year-old Spratt missing.

So the GC now has Anna VDB leading by 1'10" to Kasia, with Longo Borghini at 2'23" just 2 seconds ahead of Cille who looks to have retained the maglia verde. Harvey is at 2'51" and is now an outside shout for the podium. Ash Moolman-Pasio is next at 4'48, Mavi García is at 5'58, Ane Santesteban at 6'17, Vos at 7'29 and Lizzy Banks rounding out the top 10 at 7'49. Tomorrow's stage features a lot of climbing but the gradient is much more 'normal' than today's steep ramps, more climbing at the 5% kind of level. There is a technical descent, however. This could be very interesting because if Kasia and/or Cille pay for today's efforts then Harvey might fancy her chances if she's climbing like today - but simultaneously Anna's lead may seem good but here is where Boels' team selection may hurt them, with mostly rouleuses selected other than Canuel, and both Kasia and ELB have some seriously strong helpers with good climbing nous. Plus, of course, both riders are among the strongest descenders in the world right now, and a technical descent will represent, for them, a chance to safeguard their position and potentially improve it too. I expect some very aggressive racing tomorrow.
 
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Yes, Harvey's having a great race. Good to see that team (Paule Ka now) surviving. Would be a pity for the prospects they've gathered to struggle looking for another team instead of developing in a familiar environment.
I'm not certain anybody made a mistake (following) on that final slope. To me it looks it's just that kind of ascent where everybody need to dig deep and hope not to be dropped.
And some nice Movistar showing in the breakaway. Erić seems to be transforming from a finisseur to rouleur type. Maybe I'm wrong, but good to see her featuring anyway.
Girls were better than the guys today. Only Kragh's move can be matched with the girls' performances.
 
Yes, Harvey's having a great race. Good to see that team (Paule Ka now) surviving. Would be a pity for the prospects they've gathered to struggle looking for another team instead of developing in a familiar environment.
I'm not certain anybody made a mistake (following) on that final slope. To me it looks it's just that kind of ascent where everybody need to dig deep and hope not to be dropped.
And some nice Movistar showing in the breakaway. Erić seems to be transforming from a finisseur to rouleur type. Maybe I'm wrong, but good to see her featuring anyway.
Girls were better than the guys today. Only Kragh's move can be matched with the girls' performances.
To be fair, it was smart strategy by the Giro Rosa to schedule a less interesting stage against the Tour's queen stage and their queen stage against a flatter stage in the Tour. Now, if only they could get that live coverage we were supposed to be mandated for WWT events this year... Sadly, the other problem is that there are quite a few issues with signal dropout in mountainous locations in Italy, so it was also a bit of a game to find and piece together the results as well. This wasn't quite as bad as the Altopiano di Montasio last year, that was a nail-biting few hours of working out who was where. But still, there was some piecing together of what was going on from those updates before we got to the highlights coverage - so we were told about the break of 9, then that ELB and Anna were attacking with Niewiadoma chasing 30" behind, then radio silence for a while before it emerging that Harvey had beaten her, so I was kind of saying that "if the race developed in such a way, it's a great sign for Harvey because X, if I'm wrong about that and it's this, then it's a great sign for Harvey because Y". Happy to be wrong, and it doesn't change the overall gist of the point which is that Mikayla Harvey has been incredible here. I thought she'd defend the maglia bianca because the climb was at the upper edge of what I felt to be Lippert's threshold and I thought Mikayla had more than enough time on Cavalli, but I thought she'd be leading in the best of the rest after the elite climbers (which would still have been a great job) and looking at defending her GC position against the likes of Moolman-Pasio, not dropping the likes of Kasia and Cille by nearly a minute.

She's now moving from "pleasant surprise, outperforming expectations" to "Demi Vollering 2019 Ardennes".
 
Rewatching the finale a bit more detached from the rush of earlier and trying to scramble for the results and all of that, a few more things that I noted:
  • This was a great example of the Mortirolo-Aprica principle compressed into a very small distance. Elisa and Anna almost doubled their advantage over the Niewiadoma group and added around 10 further seconds to Harvey across the 1km descent and final punchy kilometre as compared to the 3,3km @ 12% steepest part of the race. Definitely seems it was one of those climbs that really takes it out of you and there really wasn't enough time to recover before that final kilometre so that broke a few riders who had been in the red on the main body of the climb. The times did then more or less freeze at the GPM until the finish and the GPS went a bit mad.
  • Cille wasn't working on the front with Kasia despite being under pressure for the podium from Longo Borghini, however it is fair to say that at least until it was clear it was gone the chasedown was the maglia rosa's responsibility, and that Cille clearly had no more to give or she would have gone with Aalerud when she left the mini-group behind, or at least wouldn't have got dropped by Niewiadoma over the summit. I thought it was a bit cheeky to ride around at the finish after being on the wheel through the town, but there were no bonus seconds available and I figure she was just grabbing the mountains points since they were only available on the line, not across the summit of the steepest part.
  • Mikayla Harvey was just stronger on the day, she was good enough to respond to Anna's initial race-breaking attack, although she couldn't stay with it for long when they maintained the tempo. It's the kind of move that could have broken her race if she wasn't absolutely 100% on it because it could have blown her up, but she clearly just has fantastic legs at the moment and looked more at ease on the climb before the attack than many around her when Deignan swung off. And many of those around her were riders who are the absolute elites.
  • Lippert clearly had a bit of the Sastres about her climb as she was tailed off early on and arrived only a few seconds after the maglia rosa, but Aalerud is definitely the winner of the Carlos Sastre prize of the day, being at the back of the péloton and riding through everybody on the early parts of the climb. If she had been placed optimally coming into the climb I'd have loved to see what she could have done as she had to pick her way through a lot of stragglers to get up to where the action was and by the time she got there the top 3 on the day had already made their moves.
  • A real shame this town is a bit too far south for Tirreno-Adriatico, this is just about the perfect Tirreno-Adriatico MTF. I prefer a sort of late 2000s-early 2010s version of Tirreno, no big MTF but the GC set with a mid-length ITT, a climb of this kind of size and then a couple of muritos in impossibly scenic hilltop towns to finish.
 
Just watched the highlights of this. Some super serious climbing in that last 5km, wow. Somewhat comparable to the end of the TDF stage 13 I guess.

But with more interesting racing.

Kasia is more suited to one day hilly classics? So not a surprise that she lost the maglia rosa?
 
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The lost 1 minute plus to the other gc contenders in the ttt could cost Cille the podium. Maybe FDJ can do something to optimize the team in next year before Giro Rosa 2021 both on ttt and in the mountains (though Evita M seems to be doing ok in the mountains, hard to judge though when we only see the last 20 km.)
 
With only 15 seconds over Anna it's not a surprise that Kasia lost the maglia rosa, but she's a perfectly fine stage racer, she's been 5th, 7th, 6th, 7th, 5th in consecutive years at the Giro, I think this is a better route for her as she seems better on the mid-length climbs than the real epics, but Anna was just better yesterday. Kasia's also been doing a good bit of work here and there to manoeuvre herself into position in the race, picking up bonus seconds, getting ahead of spllts on the road etc. in the stages Vos was winning, while van der Breggen was laying low. Kasia looked a bit more laboured on the climb in stage 7 when ELB was pushing tempo so I figure she's just running out of form a bit as Anna VDB looked a bit laboured on the punchy finishes of stages 3 and 4 but looks much stronger now whereas Kasia looked strong there and looked laboured on the climbs of stages 7 and 8.

I was actually a bit more surprised at Cille's time loss because she has looked so comfortable on the climbs so far, so it might just have been a jour sans or she might have been bluffing a bit in earlier stages, but she was always quick to react in earlier stages and didn't look to have any trouble doing so. I think everybody knew who the riders to watch for attacks were - Elisa lost out big time on stage 2 but clearly has great form and has been going all out to save her Giro as a result, while van der Breggen had a very bridgeable time gap to Niewiadoma and had tested a few rivals' legs out on stage 7.

DK - this is yet another exhibit in my gallery of "why TTTs suck and belong nowhere in stage races". If it costs Cille a podium, and even worse costs us fans a Cille interview, then it must surely be time to mothball the format for the good of the sport! However I think FDJ have got a pretty decent team around Cille, not necessarily at the level of Trek but still pretty strong; Evita Muzic is a good climber, Brodie Chapman is a good all-rounder too but she's on her first year in Europe and adapting to it - and what a year for that to be!!! - while their strongest and most experienced ATV who could have been a great help to Cille was Emilia Fahlin, and she left the race early after being injured in a crash.
 
Looks like the bunch is happy to let the break take this and bring bonus seconds out of the equation on the final day. 22 women in the breakaway with over 4 minutes at the final passage of the line before the finish, and that group is including Lucy Kennedy, Ruth Winder, Sabrina Stultiens, Eugenia Bujak, Katia Ragusa, Brodie Chapman, Niamh Fisher-Black, Paula Patiño, Jelena Erić, Juliette Labous, Coryn Rivera and, of course, Maria Novolodskaya.

Leah Kirchmann attempted to bridge but was swallowed up again by the bunch.

If the break settles it, then you'd say Kennedy, Winder, Chapman, Fisher-Black and Labous have to be the favourites from an attack, which seems more likely than a sprint, though if it does go to that Rivera is the obvious favourite ahead of Bujak and Erić. Juliette Labous is attacking shadowed by Fisher-Black, definitely seems there is some competition over that Teams Classificaton now that Sunweb have got numbers in the group, and CCC and Paule Ka are so close to one another in that classification, plus this advantage could bring Fisher-Black up to the fringes of the top 10, though I'd expect the pace to go up behind as you see moves made, especially as there's only 2 seconds between Uttrup and Longo Borghini, and neither of them will trust that to happen on the line given they're two of the most aggressive riders and rotten sprinters in the bunch. It looks like the group has split up a bit on the penultimate ascent, hard to ascertain who has remained up there at time of writing.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot has been roped in as a soigneur for the day for Trek, because she's not content with being one of the greatest helpers in the bunch when she's on the bike, she has to be one of the greatest helpers when off it too.

OK, here we go, much love to Andrew Pickering on Twitter for this, he has the order of riders across the line at the final intermediate (last passage of the finish before the actual finish):

14 riders up front:
Brodie Chapman and Evita Muzic (FDJ), Juliette Labous (Sunweb), Niamh Fisher-Black (Paule Ka), Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT), Paula Patiño and Jelena Erić (Movistar), Ellen van Dijk and Ruth Winder (Trek-Segafredo), Katia Ragusa (Astana), Sabrina Stultiens (CCC-Liv), Lucy Kennedy (Mitchelton-Scott), Eugenia Bujak (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) and Maria Novolodskaya (Cogeas-Mettler)

8 riders tailed off from the breakaway group:
Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM), Ilaria Sanguineti (Valcar-Travel & Service), Greta Marturano & Laura Tomasi (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo), Beatrice Rossato (Eurotarget-Bianchi), Arlenis Sierra (Astana), Silvia Valsecchi (BePink) and Coryn Rivera (Sunweb)

5 riders somewhere in no-woman's-land (not sure if they're together as a group or split individually across the gap):
Soraya Paladin (CCC-Liv), Alison Jackson (Sunweb), Silvia Zanardi (BePink), Nadine Gill (Bizkaia-Durango), Elena Franchi (Eurotarget-Bianchi)

Péloton, led by Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ceratizit-WNT) and Sofia Bertizzolo (CCC-Liv).

It seems like the riders tailed off from the breakaway are rejoining it on the descent.

Edit: Confalonieri had been in the break, she was in the process of being caught by the bunch (led by Bertizzolo) at the line.
 
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So now there's a bit of Giro 2010-itis creeping in as a group of 4 riders have escaped off the front and include a rider who was not mentioned as part of the breakaway, believe she may have a transponder issue. The interloper is Letizia Borghesi of Aromitalia-Vaiano, who won a stage from a breakaway in this race last year, the biggest race of her young career. She is currently off the front with Arlenis Sierra, Laura Tomasi and Sabrina Stultiens... and in the time it's taken me to type that, Stultiens and Sierra have got away from the other pair. They have 15" on the remainder of the breakaway with 5km remaining. Great airtime for the smaller Italian teams here with the bunch happy to have a shootout on the final climb so still a few kilometres back. The last climb is 5,9km @ 4,5% average, not many really steep bits but a few ramps that can be used as a platform to go from.

Now seems like the rest of the chase have brought it back together, a lot of the work seemingly done by Kennedy who as one of the strongest climbers there has been tasked with that work by others hoping that she won't then be able to attack them later. Quite a few riders being tailed off of the breakaway as they get closer to the finish and the pace ramps up. Last chance for all of these and quite a few of those teams either haven't got any wins yet in the race or are looking to salvage something. Big attack from Erica Magnaldi at 3km to go, she's caught at the red kite.

Uphill sprint... all the young guns! Evita Muzic takes the victory for FDJ ahead of Niamh Fisher-Black! Now the detective work for the placements can begin among the social media universe. Labous 3rd, Ellen van Dijk 5th.

Edit: ah, Peter van den Veen is our saviour once more.
1 Evita Muzic (FDJ)
2 Niamh Fisher-Black (Paule Ka)
3 Juliette Labous (Sunweb)
4 Katia Ragusa (Astana)
5 Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo)
6 Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT)
7 Sabrina Stultiens (CCC-Liv)

Incredibly young top 4 there, 21, 20, 21 and 23 respectively. Definite time gaps between Ragusa and van Dijk and even bigger one between van Dijk and Magnaldi. Possible one between Labous and Ragusa too. Arlenis Sierra won the battle for 8th behind that group from the sounds of things.

From the (trimmed) GC group it seems clear that Niewiadoma emptied the tank yesterday and van der Breggen simply shadows her home. Longo Borghini comes in in front of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig to hold 3rd place and mean that, yes, the TTT is the reason we can't have nice things (with all apologies to Longo Borghini who has been awesome animating this race, and the reason she was down there in the first place was somewhat unfortunate regardless!). Looks like the top 5 for GC will be unaltered and all came in close to one another.
 
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Some small gaps among the riders at the front, plus also a couple of riders gaining time from the break, mean that while there are no meaningful changes at the top of it, the bottom end of the top 10 sees a couple of significant changes, with Paula Patiño and Evita Muzic moving into the top 10 at the expense of Marianne Vos and Lizzy Banks. Ane Santesteban also vaults over Mavi García while Niewiadoma loses a few seconds at the line to van der Breggen who in turn loses a few as ELB and Cille fought out their GC spots. Final GC top 10:

1 Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) NED
2 Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) POL +1'14
3 Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) ITA +2'20
4 Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine) DEN +2'22
5 Mikayla Harvey (Equipe Paule Ka) NZL +2'52
6 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (CCC-Liv) RSA +5'02
7 Ane Santesteban González (Ceratizit-WNT) ESP +6'31
8 Paula Patiño Bedoya (Movistar Team) COL +6'54
9 Margarita Victoria García Cañellas (Alé-BTC Ljubljana) ESP +7'06
10 Evita Muzic (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine) FRA +7'47
 

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