Route de France: Giorgia Bronzini breaks all-time record with sixth straight victory
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Friday, August 9, 2013

Route de France: Giorgia Bronzini breaks all-time record with sixth straight victory

by Ben Atkins at 4:43 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Emma Johansson comes under attack but holds onto one second advantage

giorgia bronziniGiorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) broke the all-time record for consecutive wins in a women’s stage race as she sprinted to her sixth straight victory in the 2013 Route de France, between Pougues-les-Eaux and Vichy, eclipsing the previous best of five set by Jeannie Longo Ciprelli. The two-time former World champion was the fastest of a peloton split in half by late attacks once again, finishing a length clear of the battle for second place.

British champion Lizzie Armitstead (Boels-Dolmans) scored her best result of the race so far, in second, with best young rider Amy Pieters (Argos-Shimano) matching her own prologue result in third.

The 127.4km stage saw gold jersey Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) come under attack from several of her general classification rivals, but survived the stage with her one second lead over Linda Villumsen (Wiggle Honda) intact.

“It’s absolutely unbelievable!” Bronzini said of her record-breaking sixth victory. “I could never imagine this happening, but I’m happy and I must have good shape!

“On the last climb I gave all of my power to help Linda to stay in the front of the group,” she explained. “I gave all that I had, and on the descent I told Linda that I was finished, but Linda said that we should try for the sprint, even if we don’t win. She and Lauren put me in a good position, and we were close to the front with one-K to go.

“Someone started to sprint on the left side, and the team that was in front of us followed them and left a way for us. It was incredible! Lauren started with about 500 metres to go, with me on her wheel, and she gave me a very, very good lead out.

“When she finished her sprint I began mine, with 200 metres to the finish, and the others just stayed in my wheel.

“It was unbelievable, because it was a hard race for me as I was working, and trying to do something for Linda, but I think that when all things are positive you have more power. The girls believe in me, and give me more power, so we are the strongest team in the race.”

After a quiet first half, the stage was punctuated by a long, solo attack from Iris Slappendel (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), who put herself into the virtual race lead for several kilometres. A number of groups tried to get across to the lone Dutchwoman, but none was able to close the gap, and Slappendel herself was swept up by the peloton with 40km to go.

In the closing kilometres, the three-rider group of Kristin McGrath (United States), Grace Sulzberger (Australia) and Noemi Cantele (Be Pink) broke away and, once it was clear, Villumsen tried to bridge across. With few teammates left in the front of the splintering peloton, Johansson found herself having to close down the Danish-born New Zealander herself.

“I don’t know why I didn’t jump on Linda’s wheel right away,” said Johansson afterwards. “I made a mistake to miss that. Tiff [Cromwell] tried to bring her back but couldn’t do it alone. I had to use a lot of energy to get the race back together again.”

With the front of the peloton back together there was just time for one last attack from Evie Stevens (United States), but the 2012 race winner was closed down as the remaining sprinters were brought into the finish.

Result stage 6
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
2. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Boels-Dolmans
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Argos-Shimano
4. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
5. Alena Amialyusik (Blr) Be Pink
6. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS
7. Chloe McConville (Aus) Australian National Team
8. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
9. Edita Janeliunaite (Ltu) Pasta Zara-Cogeas
10. Pascale Jeuland (Fra) Vienne-Futuroscope

Standings after stage 6
1. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
2. Linda Villumsen (NZl) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling @ 1s
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 2s
4. Evelyn Stevens (USA) United States National Team @ 5s
5. Roxane Knetemann (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant @ 6s
6. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 8s
7. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Rabobank-Liv/Giant @ 9s
8. Thalita de Jong (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
9. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS
10. Iris Slappendel (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant @ 13s


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