Nicole Cooke (MCipollini-Giambenini) won the fifth stage of the Giro Donne this afternoon, finishing alone after a late attack.
The victory in the 129km stage from Altedo to Verona is the reigning Olympic champion’s first since a Emakumeen Bira stage last June.
28-year-old Cooke is the only Briton to win the women’s Giro, taking the overall title in 2004.
Four seconds behind, race leader Marianne Vos (Nederland Bloeit) won the bunch sprint for second, ahead of Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad). A big crash took out several riders in the finale.
Garmin-Cervelo leader Emma Pooley finished with the bunch to remain in third place overall, 42 seconds down on Vos.
Thursday’s seventh stage, where the riders climb the Mortirolo before a 20-kilometre descent to Grossotto, ought to be where the first big differences are made.
Giro Donne, stage five: Altedo to Verona
1. Nicole Cooke (GBr) MCipollini-Giambenini 129 kilometres in 3-07-15
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit at 4secs
3. Ina Teutenberg (Ger) HTC-Highroad
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Colavita Forno d’Asolo
5. Julia Martisova (Rus) Gauss
6. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
7. Eleonora Patuzzo (Ita) Diadora-Pasta Zara
8. Sharon Laws (GBr) Garmin-Cervelo
9. Monia Baccaille (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
10. Davina Summers (Aus) Bizkaia
General classification after stage five
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit in 9-42-36
2. Sylwia Kapusta (Pol) Gauss at 14secs
3. Emma Pooley (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 42secs
4. Shara Gillow (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango at 1-21
5. Sharon Laws (GB) Garmin-Cervelo at 1-25
6. Grace Verbeke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen at 2-22
7. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Gauss at 2-25
8. Judith Arndt (Ger) HTC-Highroad at 3-13
9. Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZ) AA Drink-Leontien.nl at 3-18
10. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini Giordana at 3-24
Pooley third in Giro Donne after four stages