Giro Rosa: Van Vleuten gains commanding lead after winning stage six time trial
Defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten has opened up a commanding lead after winning stage six of the Giro Rosa.
The Dutch Mitchelton-Scott rider was 53 seconds quicker than Anna van der Breggen on the 12.1km time trial.
The 36-year-old, who has won the last two time trial World Championships, added just over two minutes to the lead she claimed after winning stage five.
She is now four minutes and 17 seconds clear of compatriot Van der Breggen and previous leader Katarzyna Niewiadoma.
Van Vleuten attacked going into the final climb of stage five and was expected to stretch her advantage heading into the uphill time trail from Chiuro to Teglio.
She was the last rider out, two minutes after Niewiadoma, and passed the Pole, who was sixth on the stage, just before the finish.
Stage seven of the 10-day race is a 128.3km route from Cornedo Vicentino to San Giorgio di Perlena and features several steep climbs.
Van Vleuten said: "There are four super hard days ahead, but not many surprises for us. It's not over until Sunday so I have to take it day by day and keep focused with my team."
Stage six result
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) 24mins 32secs
2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) +53secs
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) 1min 48secs
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned/Sunweb) +1min 49secs
5. Juliette Labous (Fra/Sunweb) +1min 54secs
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol/Canyon-SRAM) +2mins
7. Katharine Hall (USA/Boels-Dolmans) +2mins 3secs
8. Amanda Spratt (Aus/Mitchelton-Scott) +2mins 9secs
9. Tayler Wiles (USA/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 21secs
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita/WNT-Rotor) +2mins 23secs
General classification after stage six
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) 11hrs 42mins 15secs
2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) +4mins 17secs
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol/Canyon-SRAM) Same time
4. Lucinda Brand (Ned/Sunweb) +5mins 17secs
5. Amanda Spratt (Aus/Mitchelton-Scott) +5mins 21secs
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +5mins 47secs
7. Katharine Hall (USA/Boels-Dolmans) +6mins 8secs
8. Juliette Labous (Fra/Sunweb) +6mins 20secs
9. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SA/CCC Liv) +6mins 33secs
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita/WNT-Rotor) +6mins 34secs