Giro della Toscana: Giorgia Bronzini takes stage one in 13 rider group sprint
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Giro della Toscana: Giorgia Bronzini takes stage one in 13 rider group sprint

by Ben Atkins at 4:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Morale-boosting pre-Worlds victory for former two-time rainbow jersey

giorgia bronziniGiorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) took a morale-boosting victory ahead of the World championships as she won the first stage of the Giro della Toscana, between Bottegone and Massa e Cozzile, at the head of a leading group of just 13 riders. The former two time World champion was the fastest to the line, ahead of compatriot Rossella Ratto (Hitec Products) and current rainbow jersey Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) at the end of the hilly 126.15km stage.

Despite Bronzini picking up a ten-second time bonus on the line, Vos held onto the pink jersey she won in the previous day’s prologue, with a slim five-second lead over her Italian sprint rival.

“Today I was good!” Bronzini laughed after the stage. “Today I did some tests for the Worlds - the climb is similar to the climb of the Worlds - so it was a really good test.

“I stayed with Lotte [Becker] and Linda [Villumsen] until the third time on the climb, and after the last time I was alone in a small bunch, and I tried to stay in the wheels,” Bronzini explained. “I dropped a little bit in the final of the climb, but I stayed with Vos as she worked to get back. In front of us were seven or eight riders, and we caught them with ten-k to go.

“The others started to attack, to not bring me and Vos to the sprint, but they caught each other and I followed,” she continued. “With one-k to go I was in third position, and I tried to stay there until the sprint began. At 200 metres to the finish the sprint began, and I was on the wheel of Anna van der Breggen [Sengers Ladies], and I came out at about 150. Vos was coming from the back, but she couldn’t catch me.

“I was in the right position, at the right moment, and I did my sprint with all my power.”

The first attack of the stage came from Amanda Miller (Tibco-To The Top) and Alison Powers (United States), who got away in Montecatini Terme after around 20km. The two Americans were joined by Tatiana Antoshina (MCipollini-Giordana and Simona Frapporti (Be Pink); the peloton was never far behind, however, and they were caught before they could reach the first intermediate sprint, which was won by Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products).

The first of four times up the 2nd category climb to Massa e Cozzile’s Piazza della Chiesa saw the peloton split into several parts, as Antoshina tok the points over the top. The front of the race reformed on the descent, with just 30 riders left in the front group.

The Michela Fanini memorial sprint, on the first crossing of the finish line after 50.4km, was taken by Shelley Olds (Tibco-To The Top), then Noemi Cantele (Be Pink) led the group over the top of the climb for the second time. There was a crash on the descent, with Vos’ key lieutenant Annemiek van Vleuten among the fallers, along with Inga Cilvinaite (Pasta Zara-Cogeas) and Esther Fennel (Germany), but all were able to remount and continue.

Following another attack from Antoshina, Cantele took the points as the group passed over the climb for the third time, with just 19 riders now present at the front of the race.

Just before the intermediate sprint, as the race crossed the line to start the final lap, Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) and Francesca Cauz (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) escaped. Cauz took the intermediate sprint, but both were caught - and dropped - on the final time up the climb.

A group of six then pulled clear as Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) upped the pace, but Vos managed to pull a chase group of seven across the gap to form the final group of 13.

In the group were Bronzini, Ratto, Vos, Cantele, Johansson and Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS), Antoshina and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana), Evie Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), Anna van der Breggen (Sengers Ladies), Claudia Häusler (Tibco-To The Top), Andrea Dvorak (United States) and Canadian champion Joëlle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies).

There were several attacks in the closing kilometres, but none was able to stick and Bronzini was able to take a morale-boosting victory over Vos in the run up to the World championships.

“I’m really, really happy, because the shape is really, really okay, and now I try to stay in this shape,” she said. “In the next days I won’t go too deep, and maybe I’ll work a little bit for Linda if she’s coming back. She started this Tour easy after being sick the other week; it’s better that she’s coming back a little bit at a time.

“If in the next days she’s feeling okay then I’ll give her the chance to try to do a good stage.

“I don’t want to lose too much now, so I will be watching myself.”

Result stage 1
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
2. Rossella Ratto (Ita) Hitec Products
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
4. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS
5. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS
6. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
7. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Tibco-To The Top
8. Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) MCipollini-Giordana @ 3s
9. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon
10. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 5s

Standings after stage 1
1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Rabobank-Liv/Giant
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling @ 5s
3. Tiffany Cromwell (Aus) Orica-AIS @ 10s
4. Rossella Ratto (Ita) Hitec Products
5. Emma Johansson (Swe) Orica-AIS @ 12s
6. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Sengers Ladies Cycling Team
7. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 18s
8. Noemi Cantele (Ita) Be Pink
9. Evelyn Stevens (USA) Specialized-lululemon
10. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Tibco-To The Top


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