Anna van der Breggen reeled in Annemiek van Vleuten to win stage nine of the Giro Rosa, but her compatriot takes a commanding lead into Sunday’s finale.
The 29-year-old Olympic champion overtook Mitchelton-Scott’s Van Vleuten in the final 800 metres after the Dutch pair broke clear with 7km remaining in the 125.5km stage from Gemona del Friuli to Montasio.
Boels-Dolmans rider Van der Breggen, who remains second overall, won by 17 seconds to reduce Van Vleuten’s lead to three minutes 50 seconds.
Sunday’s final stage is a largely flat 120km route from San Vito al Tagliamento to Udine.
Van Vleuten attacked on the Montasio climb with 4km left and built a 10-second advantage.
But Van der Breggen produced a resilient finish to claim a sixth win by Dutch riders in the race.
South Africa’s Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio, riding for CCC Liv, was third on the stage, 1:38 behind Van der Breggen.
Australian Amanda Spratt’s fourth-place finish lifted her to third in the general classification.
Stage nine result
1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) 3hrs 26mins 27secs
2. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) +17secs
3. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SA/CCC Liv) +1min 38secs
4. Amanda Spratt (Aus/Mitchelton-Scott) same time
5. Katharine Hall (US/Boels-Dolmans) +1min 57secs
6. Demi Vollering (Ned/Parkhotel Valkenburg) +2mins 51secs
7. Ane Santesteban (Spa/WNT-Rotor) same time
8. Erica Magnaldi (Ita/WNT-Rotor) +2mins 53secs
9. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +2mins 55secs
10. Juliette Labous (Fra/Team Sunweb) +3mins 10secs
General classification after stage nine
1. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned/Mitchelton-Scott) 22hrs 09mins 39secs
2. Anna van der Breggen (Ned/Boels-Dolmans) +3mins 50secs
3. Amanda Spratt (Aus/Mitchelton-Scott) +7mins
4. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SA/CCC Liv) +8mins 5secs
5. Katharine Hall (USA/Boels-Dolmans) +8mins 9secs
6. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol/Canyon-SRAM) +8mins 10secs
7. Lucinda Brand (Ned/Sunweb) +8mins 25secs
8. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita/Trek-Segafredo) +8mins 30secs
9. Soraya Paladin (Ita/Ale-Cipollini) +9mins 26secs
10. Erica Magnaldi (Ita/WNT-Rotor) +9mins 31secs