Flashback to Emma Pooley winning atop San Domenico di Varzo in the 2014 Giro Rosa

The 2014 Giro Rosa saw an incredible Rabo-Liv team boss the race. Marianne Vos would take the GC win and 4 stages along the way but Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and Anna van der Breggen would also round out the podium. It says something when the likes of Annemiek van Vleuten, Kasia Niewiadoma and Lucinda Brand are playing 4th, 5th and 6th fiddle. On Stage 8, the peloton would tackle the huge San Domenico di Varzo climb. Potentially a big hurdle in Marianne Vos’ GC battle.

The early part of the stage was raced hard. The fastest first hour in the 2014 Giro Rosa no less. Riders were desperate to get up the road to give themselves breathing room on the climb. The GC teams were being cagey though, unwilling to let any break gain headway. Rabo-Liv pulled back a move from Trixi Worrack and then kept wraps on every other move. In a move taken from the old Sky train, Lucinda Brand paced the front ensuring that as few riders as possible managed to hang on. With 10km left, there were just 16 riders in the front group.

As with all epic stage finishes, it was raining as the riders kept climbing. Brand pulled off, job done and the Rabo-Liv dominated front group was in the strongest position. They still had Vos, Van der Breggen and Ferrand-Prevot against Mara Abbott, Megan Guarnier, Elisa Longo Borghini and Emma Pooley.

Each one of these riders, bar Pooley, was in the top 10 in GC at the start of the stage. Pooley had already won Stage 6 and would’ve been a GC contender but for a large nosebleed on the Prologue and Stage 1, plus an asthma attack for good measure. Pooley lost 4 and a half minutes that day.

Giro Rosa 2014 Stage 8 Highlights

YouTube video

The attack that split the bunch came from Guarnier with only Van der Breggen able to match it with 6km to go. Emma Pooley missed the move but looked the most comfortable behind and as Van der Breggen dropped Guarnier ahead, Longo Borghini dropped out of the group. Race leader Marianne Vos was the next to crack before Pauline Ferrand-Prevot reached the same point with 2km to go. Mara Abbott and Emma Pooley had managed to reel in and pass Anna van der Breggen as the trio entered the last 1km.

Abbott laid down the hurt, trying to gap Pooley but it was to no avail. Pooley attacked in the last 200m in a Vos-esque way and comfortably took the stage victory by 4 seconds. The battle was a throwback to 2010 when both riders duked it out for that year’s Giro Donne.

“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.”

Emma Pooley

By winning 3 of the last 4 stages, Emma Pooley racked up enough points to win the Mountains classification.

“Very hard stage today in the Giro Rosa. I could follow the first riders with 3 km to go, then I started to ride my own pace. Very tough day for me, but I’m still in pink. I want to thank my teammates for their great support”

Marianne Vos

Results

1. Emma Pooley (Lotto Belisol) 2:32’49”
2. Mara Abbott (Unitedhealthcare) at 5’’
3. Anna Van Der Breggen (Rabo Liv) at 29’’
4. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Liv) at 53’’
5. Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans) at 1’27’’
6. Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv) at 1’28’’
7. Claudia Hausler (Giant Shimano) at 1’53’’
8. Annemiek Van Vleuten (Rabo Liv) s.t.
9. Tatiana Riabchenko (Michela Fanini) at 1’58’’
10. Emma Johansson (Orica AIS) at 2’01’’

General Classification

1. Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv)
2. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Liv) at 16’’
3. Anna van der Breggen (Rabo Liv) at 1’17”
4. Mara Abbott (Unitedhealthcare) at 1’39’’
5. Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products) at 1’46’’