Lucinda Brand also joins Lizzie in the successful breakaway and secures the mountains classification
It wasn’t the plan to put two in a breakaway in the final stage at the 2021 Giro d’Italia Femminile, but Trek-Segafredo was more than happy to have Lizzie Deignan and Lucinda Brand in an escape group of five riders that also included overall race leader Anna Van der Breggen.
It was a tenth straight day that the team threw everything they had into the race in a bid for another win after the Stage 1 victory. “I didn’t pack my pockets for a 100-kilometer breakaway,” said Deignan about the unplanned escape.
The move went early, worked well together, and with four of the top teams represented, the gap extended to over two minutes, but not more. In the last part of the race, their lead dropped to just over a minute, but despite a considerable effort from behind, it never came closer than 35 seconds in the last eight kilometers.
Lucinda Brand, who finished 2nd in Stage 3, has raced aggressively for 10 days and her legs finally said no more on the final climb. She lost grip on the breakaway group but not before cementing the green jersey, which was in jeopardy in the final stage, and also putting in a massive effort to help keep the breakaway ahead of the chasing bunch.
“I have nothing left after today for sure. I am super happy that we could keep the green jersey. It’s a nice prize for the whole team actually because we raced so well,” said Brand. “We definitely raced aggressively, and you saw it yesterday in the Tour de France: if you never give up, it once will return to you. We tried to keep that motivation here as well. Maybe we didn’t quite get it, but at least we still have the green jersey to take home.”
I couldn’t even think straight anymore, and you need to be able to think straight to beat Coryn Rivera in a sprint.
The sprint turned into a head-to-head battle between Coryn Rivera and Lizzie Deignan, two fast finishers, and it was close!
The two powered to the line, side by side, and only in the last meters did Rivera throw her bike ahead of Deignan, taking the win by inches.
“I couldn’t even think straight anymore, and you need to be able to think straight to beat Coryn Rivera in a sprint. I mean, I feel like a raisin. I’m finished,” admitted Deignan.
In the bag of goodies that Trek-Segafredo took away from the 2021 Giro Donne were the TTT victory, three times finishing runner-up in stages, 4th place in the general classification (GC), and the green jersey.
The team fell short in their goal of a podium finish for the GC, but when team leader Elisa Longo Borghini lost sight of that early in the race, she turned her focus to racing aggressively. Elisa claimed second in Stage 7 while helping Deignan keep her high GC position all week.
Every single day we fought for a victory, and I think we were the best team in the race.
“I came here to work for Elisa, and it showed a huge amount of character and courage for her to continue to fight every day,” said Deignan. “We know how much she put into this race, and that gave me motivation to do whatever I could for the team. So I maintained the 4th position overall, and that realistically is the best that I could have done in this race.
“As a team, we did our best. Every single day we fought for a victory, and I think we were the best team in the race. Our only proof of that actually is the victory in the team time trial, and it would have been nice to finish it today to give the girls a victory, but I am really proud of the way we raced,” concluded Deignan.