Giro della Toscana ends in farce as several teams quit over traffic concerns
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Giro della Toscana ends in farce as several teams quit over traffic concerns

by Ben Atkins at 12:58 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Claudia Haüsler declared winner as half the peloton pulls out

claudia hauslerThe final stage of the Giro della Toscana, the only race in the women’s calendar to have been awarded the new 2.HC status by the International Cycling Union (UCI), has ended in chaos after the majority of the teams in the race refused to start the final stage. The five-day race has been beset with safety issues since the start, with several cars getting onto the course in the opposite direction of the peloton on a number of occasions.

Rabobank-Liv/Giant, Orica-AIS, Wiggle Honda, Hitec Products, Boels-Dolmans, Argos-Shimano, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Sengers Ladies, Be Pink and Specialized-lululemon all refused to take the start of this morning’s stage, between Lucca and Florence.

Of the 112 riders that finished stage three, only 52 took the start of stage four, and only 49 reached the finish.

Within teams there was not complete solidarity, as 2009 World champion Tatiana Guderzo and 2012 Italian champion Giada Borgato pulled out, but the rest of their MCipollini-Giordana and Pasta Zara-Cogeas teams both rode the stage. Despite Hitec Products pulling out, Italian Rossella Ratto did start, which her own directeur sportif Karl Lima described, via Twitter, as “a disgrace”. The 19-year-old, who finished stage three in fourth place overall, did pull out after a few kilometres though. Faren-Kuota riders Elena Cecchini and Christel Ferrier Bruneau started with their teammates, but also abandoned before the finish.

Those that did start were mostly the smaller Italian teams, with many riders doing so against their will, although the American Tibco-To The Top also rode. The team’s German rider Claudia Häusler, who started the day in fifth, became the de facto winner of the race overall, despite crossing the line in third from last place with teammates Lauren Stephens and Shelley Olds.

Brunello Fanini, who organises the race - and the Michela Fanini team - in the memory of his daughter Michela, a former Italian champion and Giro Donne winner who herself was killed in a car accident - was not impressed by the protest.

"The race was very regular,” he claimed. “The protest is disgraceful and self-serving - the jury has spoken of valid stage and without problems. The losers today are the so-called big names in cycling and the women's sector in general."

Despite the race apparently being declared safe to run, it was ridden at a neutralised pace for its entire length, with the Michela Fanini-Rox team crossing the line en masse at the head of the peloton. Frenchwoman Aude Biannic crossed the line first and was declared the winner, ahead of teammates Liisi Rist and Jutatip Maneephan.

“Result” stage 4
1. Aude Biannic (Fra) Michela Fanini-Rox
2. Liisi Rist (Est) Michela Fanini-Rox
3. Jutatip Maneephan (Tha) Michela Fanini-Rox
4. Yevgenia Wysotska (Ukr) Michela Fanini-Rox
5. Edwige Pitel (Fra) Michela Fanini-Rox
6. Lara Vieceli (Ita) Michela Fanini-Rox
7. Lisa Fischer (Ger) German National Team
8. Stephanie Pohl (Ger) German National Team
9. Edite Janeliunaite (Ltu) Pasta Zara-Cogeas
10. Uenia Fernandes da Souza (Bra) Chirio Forno d’Asolo

Final overall standings
1. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Team Tibco-To The Top
2. Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) MCipollini-Giordana @ 1s
3. Francesca Cauz (Ita) Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo @ 5’47”
4. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) MCipollini-Giordana @ 5’59”
5. Shelley Olds (USA) Team Tibco-To The Top @ 9’45”
6. Tetyana Riabchenko (Ukr) Chirio Forno d’Asolo @ 13’25”
7. Asja Paladin (Ita) Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo @ 14’31”
8. Inga Cilvinaite (Ltu) Pasta Zara-Cogeas @ 15’26”
9. Yevgenia Wysotska (Ukr) Michela Fanini-Rox @ 15’36”
10. Aude Biannic (Fra) Michela Fanini-Rox @ 17’17”

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