On the first summit finish of the Giro d’Italia Women, Elisa Longo Borghini successfully defended her pink leader’s jersey by finishing fourth, while Niamh Fisher-Black of SD Worx-Protime took the stage win.

As the riders tackled the demanding climb towards Toano, it was Fisher-Black who emerged victorious. She broke away from Mavi Garcia in the final kilometre, crossing the line solo. Lotte Kopecky and Juliette Labous followed in second and third, respectively, with Longo Borghini just behind them.

Longo Borghini on a tough day

Longo Borghini acknowledged the difficulty of the stage, particularly the heat. “The final climb was as expected, very, very steady. But what really defined the stage was the warmth and in the last few kilometres I could really feel it,” she said. “Fisher-Black and García went away, but for us, they are not a threat. I just tried in a sprint, but Labous and Kopecky were just faster than me. Chapeau to Fisher-Black for winning.”

Despite the challenge, Longo Borghini retained the pink jersey, attributing her performance to her team’s support. “Keeping hydrated was the key. I need to thank my teammates because they were going up and down from the car to bring me water, bottles, and ice. So really, thanks to my teammates because otherwise I would have been really cooked now.”

Kopecky’s satisfaction and focus

Lotte Kopecky, now second in the general classification, expressed her satisfaction with the day’s results. “It was a very good day, not only for myself, but also for Niamh. We know she’s a really strong climber, and we told her many times that she needs to take her chances. Today she did, and it worked out very well,” said Kopecky. She also wore the red jersey as the leader in the points classification but stated it was not a primary goal. “It was not a goal before the Giro, and I don’t think that I will sprint for the intermediates on the next days, but if I can gain points on the finish line, then it will maybe be possible [to keep it],” she noted.

Labous’s ascent to the podium

Juliette Labous also moved into a podium position, now third overall, 25 seconds behind Longo Borghini. Her team faced a puncture issue, but Canyon-SRAM controlled the pace on the lower slopes. “Unfortunately, Nienke [Vinke] had a puncture at the bottom of the climb, but Canyon did the pace we wanted and had planned to do, so it worked out for us,” Labous said. “I felt like it was quite hard at the bottom, but I could ride into it and felt I had good legs. The podium is a nice stage result for us and with the bonus seconds, I think we can be happy with today.”

Young riders shine

Antonia Niedermaier of Canyon-SRAM lost contact with the other general classification contenders in the final kilometre but still finished ninth, moving up to fourth overall. She also defended her white U23 jersey, extending her lead over her teammate Neve Bradbury. “I’m really happy I could keep the white jersey and also moved up in the GC. For sure, today wasn’t easy, especially with the heat, so I’m happy with what I did. My teammates really gave it all, we went all-in for the last climb, they were just amazing, so really big thanks to all of them,” Niedermaier said.

Fisher-Black’s perspective

Niamh Fisher-Black, celebrating her first Giro stage win, shared her excitement. “It’s the most beautiful victory of my career! I arrived at the Giro in good shape, but surely a result like this also gives a positive boost to morale. In the finale, Lotte and I studied our opponents and decided it was my turn to anticipate. I seized the right moment and it went well,” she said.

2024 Giro d’Italia Women Stage 3 result

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

All photo credits: La Presse