LONATE POZZOLO, Italy (VN) — In the penultimate stage of the 2012 Giro Donne, defending champion and overall leader Marianne Vos (Rabobank) came out on top — again.
Vos has won five of eight Giro Donne stages so far, the same number she won in last year’s edition. But for Vos, stage wins are just stepping-stones on the way to overall victory.
“The primary goal is to bring the pink jersey to Bergamo,” Vos said in a news release after the race. “But I feel really good … I could not let go of the sprint and I had the best. What more can I say?”
Barring disaster, Vos is indeed the solid choice for the overall win going into Saturday’s stage.
American favorite Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon) will almost certainly make the GC podium as well, as she is two minutes behind Vos in the general classification after stage 7. Emma Pooley (AA Drink-Leontien.nl) is third in GC, 3:20 behind Vos.
Friday’s stage, which took riders on a rolling route from Crugnola di Mornago to Lonate Pozzolo, saw several strong performances, but none that matched the dominance of Vos.
The race finished in a three-woman sprint, with Vos, German national champion Judith Arndt (GreenEdge-AIS) and Stevens all gunning for the win. Arndt and Stevens finished second and third, respectively. The follow group, led by fourth-place Shelley Olds (AA Drink), finished 40 seconds behind the podium trio.
The jersey wearers remain unchanged after stage 7. Vos controls both pink (overall) and yellow (points competition), and Pooley continues to wear green (mountain classification). Elisa Longho Borghini, currently eighth in GC, remains in white (best young rider), while Fabiana Luperini (Faren Honda), fourth in GC, wears blue (best Italian rider).
Just over 100km separate Marianne Vos from back-to-back Giro Donne titles. On Saturday, in the finish city of Bergamo, she seems certain to be crowned the “Queen of Pink.”