Giro Rosa: Mara Abbott climbs into pink on Monte Beigua summit
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Thursday, July 04, 2013

Giro Rosa: Mara Abbott climbs into pink on Monte Beigua summit

by Ben Atkins at 1:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Race Reports and Results
 
2010 race winner takes the lead as Marianne Vos suffers a rare bad day

mara abbottMara Abbott (United States) celebrated the 4th of July in style with a crushing victory in the Queen stage of the 2013 Giro d’Italia Femminile, between Varazze and the summit of Mote Beigua. The 2010 Giro winner, making her return to the sport after battling an eating disorder, attacked on the long, steep climb to the finish, and finished 1’44” clear of her nearest challenger, 20-year-old Francesca Cauz (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo), to take the Maglia Rosa that she last wore three years previously.

Cauz led home a group of three Italian chasers, just managing to escape five-time Giro winner Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Kuota) and 2009 World champion Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) at the finish.

Maglia Rosa and defending champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) suffered a rare bad day and cracked on the final climb. The World champion finished 5’15” down on Abbott, in the company of American teammate Megan Guarnier, and slipped down to seventh place overall.

"The only tragedy of racing the Giro is that you're not home on July 4. What better way to celebrate than to win it?" said Abbott after the stage. “I really can't say enough about my teammates.

“I'm going to try to protect this lead with the help of my teammates,” she added. “They have been great so far. They've done everything that's been asked of them. I have confidence that they will continue to give everything until the end.”

At 73.3km in length, stage five was to be the be the shortest of the race but, with very little flat road and the 14.2km climb to finish - with its 9% average, and 15% maximum gradient - it was to be by far the toughest.

The peloton stayed together over the top of the 2nd category Ponte Givio, after 16.5km, where Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) took maximum points ahead of Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) and Vos. Shortly afterwards, however, a group of 12 riders escaped.

In the group were Guarnier and Roxane Kneteman (both Rabobank-Liv/Giant), Alena Amialiusik (Be Pink), Adrie Visser (Boels-Dolmans), Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda), Scandolara and Valentina Carretta (both MCipollini-Giordana), Ellen van Dijk (Specialized-lululemon), Jo Kiesanowski (Tibco-To The Top), Patricia Schawager (Faren-Kuota), Kristin McGrath (United States) and Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS).

The group’s advantage was to reach a maximum of 55 seconds - with Caretta taking the intermediate sprint, in Pontinvrea with 29.9km to go, ahead of Guarnier and Knetemann - but this was steadily reduced on the approach to the final climb. Valentina Bastianelli (Vaiano-Fondriest) and Lauren Hall (United States) managed to bridge across the gap as it dropped below 30 seconds, but the race was all back together with 21km to go.

Almost as soon as the final climb began Abbott attacked with Evie Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) and the two Americans immediately put Vos into difficultly. Stevens was soon unable to follow her compatriot, however, and the 2010 Giro winner began to open up her lead over every body.

Stevens continued to fade, as the group of Cauz, Luperini and Guderzo continued to pursue the lone leader, but Abbott was still climbing strongly and still opening up her lead. The American rider finally crossed the line alone, as she had done on the Passo dello Stelvio when she claimed the 2010 race, with Cauz winning the battle for second place some 1’44” behind her.

Abbott’s victory was enough to earn her the Maglia Rosa, with a 1’27” lead over Guderzo and 1’34” over Luperini. Defending champion Vos lost 5’15” on the stage, and slipped back to seventh overall, trailing the leader by 3’20” with three stages to go.

Result stage 5
1. Mara Abbott (USA) United States National Team
2. Francesca Cauz (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo @ 1’44”
3. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Kuota @ 1’49”
4. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 1’51”
5. Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 2’38”
6. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Tibco-To The Top @ 2’49”
7. Yevgenia Vysotska (Ukr) Michela Fanini-Rox @ 3’02”
8. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Be Pink @ 3’45”
9. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Lotto-Belisol @ 3’51”
10. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon

Standings after stage 5
1. Mara Abbott (USA) United States National Team
2. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 1’27”
3. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Faren-Kuota @ 1’34”
4. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Tibco-To The Top @ 2’27”
5. Francesca Cauz (Ita) Top Girls Fassa Bortolo @ 2’30”
6. Shara Gillow (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 2’54”
7. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant @ 3’20”
8. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon @ 3’35”
9. Ashleigh Moolman (RSA) Lotto-Belisol @ 3’37”
10. Yevgenia Vysotska (Ukr) Michela Fanini-Rox @ 3’39”

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