The challenging time trial in the giro rosa (stage 5) did not bring WM3 Pro Cycling what it had hoped for. Team captain Kasia Niewiadoma crashed in the descent of the first climb in a right turn. She could continue the race, but lost valuable time. A podium spot seems out of reach now that the gap to number three has increased to 2 minutes and 29 seconds.
The time trial (12.7 kilometres) was extremely tough. The first climbing of the stage started after 3 relatively flat kilometres, followed by a short descent and a second climb with stretches of more than 25%. On paper, an ideal course for lightweight Kasia, who after stage 4 was hoping to gain time to her closest competitors.
Kasia started reasonably well, but it went wrong in the descent of the first climb. “I slipped with my wheel”, says Kasia who came out of it well. She could continue the stage after about 1.5 minutes. “It is difficult to get back in the rhythm after a crash. In addition, you have less confidence.”
Our Polish team captain crossed the finish line as 7th with a gap of 2 minutes and 3 seconds to today’s winner Annemiek van Vleuten, who proved to be in a league of her own in this stage against the clock. Anna van der Breggen was 2nd with 41 seconds slower than van Vleuten. Also Anouska Koster from WM3 Pro Cycling completed a successful time trial, being 16th at 2 minutes and 57 seconds.
DS Jeroen Blijlevens: “I have rarely seen a tougher time trial as today’s. One of the signs on the final climb indicated a gradient of 30% (Strada dei Cocciari, red.).” Kasia rode the time trial on her light, green climbing bike, the Aura SLX (Ridley). Jeroen Blijlevens: “In 2013, the Tirreno-Adriatico finished here. Those riders also had it extraordinary hard at the time.”