Emma Pooley all but secures mountain classification; Marianne Vos continues to lead overall

Britain’s Emma Pooley (Lotto-Belisol) cemented her position as the leader of the Giro Rosa mountains classification by winning today’s 90.3-kilometre Queen stage. The race finished on the only classified climb of the day a route perfectly suited to her talents and increasing form.

The stage was dominated by that final mountain. Twenty-three kilometres long, only the final 13 km was classified, with an average of 8%. With the peloton shredded, Megan Guarnier (Boels_Dolmans) attacked first, and was joined by race leader Marianne Vos’s team mate, Anna van der Breggen who rode on alone, when the American faded.

Behind, Mara Abbott (United Healthcare), who secured overall Giro victory in 2013 winning on this very climb, upped the pace, dropping Vos and all but Pooley. Once van der Breggen was despatched it was left to Abbott and Pooley to contest the final.

“I didn’t start with the idea I could win the stage,” said Pooley. “My main goal was to keep the green jersey. I knew who to watch. When we started the climb I waited, tried to conserve energy and be relaxed. I stayed in the wheels of those going for GC. In the end I was alone in front with Mara Abbott, who won last year. Then I started raising the tempo, because I wanted to make her tired. At that point I wanted to win the stage, certainly after all the work the girls did for me.”

“I didn’t really attack I just rode harder. It wasn’t a sprint at the end, just by raising the pace I apparently had created a gap. I didn’t even put my hands in the air, because I was sure she was coming so I didn’t have time for that. This victory is really nice for me and the team. Tomorrow it’s another mountain top finish, at the Madonna del Ghisallo this time, a famous climb. We’ll give it all again tomorrow.”

Pooley now leads the mountains classification by 18 points and, with only 13 on offer in tomorrow’s stage, she only needs to finish to secure the green jersey.

The general classification is still dominated by Marianne Vos’s Rabo-Liv team, who hold first, second and third positions. The multiple World Champion’s lead is now down to 16 seconds, however she could lose more time in tomorrow’s final stage, surely another for the climbers.

Results
Giro d’Italia Femminile 2014, Stage eight

1. Emma Pooley (Lotto-Belisol)
2. Mara Abbott (United Healthcare)
3. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)
4. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rab-Liv)
5. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans)
6. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
7. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano)
8. Annamiek van Vleuten (Rabo-Liv)
9. Tetiana Riabchenko Michela (Fanini Rox)
10. Emma Johansson (Orica- AIS)

Overall classification after stage eight
1. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) 23:14:09
2. Pauline Ferrand-Prevot (Rabo-Liv) at 0:16
3. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) at 1:17
4. Mara Abbott (United Healthcare) at 1:39
5. Elisa Longo-Borghini (Hitec Products) at 1:46
6. Claudia Lichtenberg (Giant-Shimano) at 2:47
7. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) at 6:27
8. Annamiek van Veluten (Rabo-Liv) at 6:44
9. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) at 6:57
10. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabo-Liv) at 7:10