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Watch: Annemiek van Vleuten takes the Maglia Rosa after 'epic suffering' on Passo Fraele

George Smith
10 Jul 2019

A mammoth attack that has rivals labelling the Dutchwoman an 'alien'

Dutch rider and reigning Giro Rosa champion Annemiek van Vleuten raced clear on the final climb of Stage 5 - the Queen stage - to take the leader’s jersey in epic style after cresting the summit of the Passo Fraele 2 minutes 57 seconds ahead of her nearest rival, Team Sunweb’s Lucinda Brand.

According to the Mitchelton-Scott rider’s Strava profile, Van Vleuten averaged 19.6kmh over the 7km climb which has an average gradient of 7%. Most impressive, however, was the max speed of 57.6kmh which the 36-year-old briefly sustained at the foot of the segment.

Speaking after the stage she said: 'I know the roads here very well and knew I had to attack from the bottom to gain as much time as possible,' before adding that it was '10km of epic suffering.'

Responding to Van Vleuten’s solo attack, which you can watch below, fellow rider Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), who finished 8th on the day, referred to it as 'alien'.

'I saw when Annemiek went, and everybody was like "OK, the alien is gone and now the race for human beings begins."'

Her dominating performance leaves Van Vleuten well placed to retain her Giro Rosa crown with the rider sitting 2 minutes 16 seconds in front of second placed Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon-Sram) before today’s 12.1km time trial, which she is also expected to win.