Van der Breggen secured the overall victory in the 2020 Giro Rosa, finishing the final stage behind the breakaway punching the air in celebration as the overall winner of the race for the third time in her career.
She was challenged by a late surge in the finale as Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) took off the try and improve their standings, but she covered the move with ease and kept her hold on the pink jersey.
Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Longo Borghini finished second and third respectively overall.
“I’m really happy of course. It is special to win the Giro, also the last day is always a bit exciting. The gaps were pretty big, but still, it was a hard lap,” said van der Breggen.
The stage-winner was 21-year-old French rider Evita Muzic (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) had been part of the large breakaway that formed early in the stage on the first of four laps round the Motta Montecorvino course. She made the most of her opportunity, coming into the finish with a select group and winning the uphill dash to the line.
Jelena Eric (Movistar) was the first to form the early move as she escaped on the long descent. Once she reached the flat it was hard going, riding in the wind alone, and by the time the race was through the first circuit a chasing group of 26 riders had caught the lone leader.
Through the second lap, the composition of the lead group changed, as attacks caused the group to splinter and reform, losing some riders in the process. By the time they were into the third lap of four laps there were 22 riders out the front with five minutes lead and as they headed into the final lap of 28 kilometres, it became certain that the winner would come from the break.
With a stage victory up for grabs for the opportunists, the attacks came thick and fast, with a group of four; Arlenis Sierra (Astana), Sabrienne Stultiens (CCC-Liv), Laura Tomasi and Marta Cavalli (Valcar) looking dangerous as they forged off the front of the race and held a 20 second lead with six kilometres remaining.
They were recaptured at the base of the climb to the finish and a group of eight charged clear, with Niamh Fisher-Black (Equipe Paule Ka), Muzic, Brodie Chapman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Julie Labous (Team Sunweb), Katia Ragusa (Astana), Ellen Van Dijk (Trek Segafredo), Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT Pro) and Sabrina Stultiens (CCC-Liv) all looking to take the win.
Chapman sacrificed her own chances at stage glory, driving the pace on the final ascent of Motta Montecorvino for her FDJ teammate, who repaid the effort by going on to win the stage.
Fisher-Black did a prolonged surge toward the top of the climb and came into the home straight in the lead, only to be passed just ahead of the line by Muzic.
The French youngster just had enough punch to sprint over the line just ahead of the New Zealand road race champion, with last year’s white jersey winner Juliette Labous (Team Sunweb) completing the podium in third.
“I had my chance and Brodie did a very very good job,” said Muzic of her Australian teammate after the stage. “She did the whole climb full gas so I had to win for the team and for her, so I’m just happy.”
"It was a really special race, we had to protect Cecilie to try to gain the few seconds she needed for the podium. But the race decided otherwise, a big breakaway formed from the start of the race, with Brodie we seized this opportunity."
"On the penultimate lap Brodie attacked, I could see who had the legs to call at that point. Then in the final Brodie did a great job, toughened up the race and blew it all up, it was amazing! When she pulled away I thought 'I have no choice but with everything she's done I have to win'.
"I managed to maneuver against Juliette and Niamh to get the win. I'm really happy to bring this first World Tour victory back to the team, especially with the work everyone has done, we are finishing this Giro Rosa in style! "
Later the GC contenders raced over the Motta Montecorvino finish line, with Van der Breggen neutralising some late attacks and adding a third title to those she won back in 2015 and 2017.
SBS will broadcast highlights of the Giro Rosa with the final episode airing today, September 20, at 4.30pm.