An aggressive and assertive race from Team dsm-firmenich saw the team attack multiple times throughout the day, with Francesca Barale claiming a strong fourth place finish in Varese.
It was an early start on Tuesday morning for the Women’s peloton as they rolled out of Busto Arsizio, with the race quickly settling into a familiar pattern. A break was able to establish itself out front but as the bunch entered the local circuit the pace was increased and those out front were caught with under 50 kilometres to go thanks to some early pace setting by Léa Curinier and Eleonora Ciabocco. Esmée Peperkamp got a gap through a corner and kept the pressure on, building her lead to a maximum of 30 seconds over a group of chasers that Nienke Vinke covered brilliantly. Peperkamp was caught by Vinke’s group, and formed an attacking break of around 15 riders. Although they held onto a minute advantage at one point, the pace went completely out of the head of the race and at the same point those that had missed out began to chase.
Ultimately, it was all back together heading into the last 15 kilometres. Juliette Labous tried to drag a group clear on one of the short climbs but she was immediately marked out, before Francesca Barale then followed another dangerous move which was pulled back. As a result, the reduced peloton was together as they charged down the descent before the final three kilometre drag to the line. A really strong pace was set and Lippert made her race winning move from the bottom, with the bunch fully strung out. Barale rode brilliantly to close a gap and jump clear, forming a chasing group with Balsamo as they duked it out for the final podium spot. Holding off until the line, Barale gave it her all but her fellow Italian had the jump on her in the sprint and took third; with Barale ending the race in fourth. Nonetheless, it was an exceptional ride from the youngster and her best result in the pro ranks so far; and one that is promising for her coming years with the team. It was also a double top ten for the Team dsm-firmenich squad as Vinke sprinted to ninth from the group behind.