Bigla Pro Cycling’s Mikayla Harvey may be out of the best young rider’s jersey, but her hard work for teammate Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig is paying off in spades three days into the Giro Rosa.
The opening handful of stages in the Giro Rosa have been characterised by their trickiness if not their brutality. The team trial had a tough 6km climb that was the prime catalyst in the large time gaps between teams. That progressed into stage stage 2 with a grinding uphill slog to the finish line that was steady and unrelenting, and then last night’s third stage; a sterner test before the bigger mountain stages. In both of the two road stages so far we’ve had small groups making their way to the line to battle out stage honours. And in both cases one of cycling’s most recognisable names has taken the plaudits.
For Bigla stage 2 was the first stage wearing the best young rider’s jersey for Mikayla Harvey. It proved to be a defensive work effort from Harvey on behalf of Ludwig; resulting in the Kiwi losing her jersey for the sake of the long-range goal. After the early attacks from riders were brought back, two riders spent much of the day out in front once the race reached the flatter section of the stage. They were Romy Kasper of Ale Cipollini and Kelly Van Den Steen of Lotto Soudal Ladies.
With 20km to go, Bigla took a starring role at the front of the race along with Team Sunweb who ha Leah Kirchmann who finally made the catch bringing them back. But that didn’t stop attacks going well into the latter stages, eventually forcing the decisive split for just under 20 riders.
The sprit for the line saw Marianne Vos of CCC-Liv go from a long way out and make perfect use of the technical finale to take a convincing win ahead of Annemiek van Vleuten of Mitchelton-SCOTT and Lucinda Brand of Team Sunweb.
Stage 3 from Sagliano Micca to Piedicavallo saw the 104.1km stage come down to the final climb, a climb that saw Trek-Segafredo’s Tayler Wiles start with the lead. Canyon-SRAM were leading the way on behalf of Katarzyna Niewiadoma and succeeded in limiting the soloist’s lead to a minute before bringing things back. Lucy Kennedy launched an attack as Wiles was brought back to the bunch, but the ramp up to the line saw the stage win cruelly snatched from her grasp.
The cobbled climb to the line saw Kennedy certain that she’d won the stage and she even began celebrating, but the the leader in the points classification blasted her way up the final metres to catch and pass Kennedy with just a couple of metres to go. A stunned Kennedy held on for second ahead of a fast-closing Ludwig.
Overall this means that Katarzyna Niewiadoma of Canyon SRAM Racing continues to lead the overall standings; 20 seconds ahead of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig with Marianne Vos third at 25 seconds.
Mikayla Harvey is the highest placed of the Kiwi duo at the moment, sitting in 42nd position at 4.43mins. Deborah Paine of Cogeas-Mettler Pro Cycling is in 95th place at 18.48mins.