World Championships: Giorgia Bronzini sprints to women’s road race title
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Saturday, October 2, 2010

World Championships: Giorgia Bronzini sprints to women’s road race title

by Ben Atkins at 2:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, World Championships
Italian sprinter wins for Franco Ballerini; Vos gets fourth consecutive silver

Giorgia BronziniGiorgia Bronzini (Italy) is the new women’s World road race champion, winning the rainbow jersey in an attacking race that eventually ended in a bunch sprint. The former World points race champion burst from the remains of the peloton to overtake Marianne Vos (Netherlands) on the line as the race came back together in the finishing straight; Emma Johansson (Sweden) was third.

2008 champion Nicole Cooke (Great Britain) was fourth and 2004 champion Judith Arndt (Germany) fifth, after their last lap move was caught in the final hundred metres.

“I knew there was only one chance to beat Vos and that was to wait, wait, wait,” said Bronzini after her victory. “It was the most beautiful sprint of my life, the girls believed in me right to the end.

“I suffered a lot on the climb and it has paid off,” she continued, “I dedicate this victory to [late national team coach] Franco Ballerini and all of the national team. We are a grande gruppo! We are the best!”

As she crossed the line Bronzini also made a heart-shaped gesture above her head, in dedication to Marina Romoli, her former teammate who was seriously injured in a training accident in June, and who has yet to recover the use of her legs.

After an race of attrition the race exploded on the last of eight laps; despite what looked like a race-winning move from Cooke and Arndt, the peloton caught them on the line and Bronzini sprinted to victory.

The first two laps were ridden at a steady pace, with most of the big teams showing themselves at the front but none willing to commit to taking control.

In the first half of the third lap Lieselot Decroix (Belgium) came forward to increase the pace. On the longer of the two climbs, the Ridge, an attack from Katheryn Curi-Mattis (United States) was countered by Carla Swart (South Africa). The move was not successful in forming a breakaway but did have the effect of stringing out the peloton for the first time.

In the final few kilometres of the lap Eleonora Patuzzo (Italy) attacked, forcing the peloton to string out once more but once again the move failed to get clear.

As the race came into the finishing straight Curi Mattis attacked once more, and the American, who won of the last edition of the Geelong World Cup in 2008 with a solo break, got away. As she approached the base of the climb her lead was 50 seconds over the peloton, with Valentina Carretta (Italy) and Anne Samplonius (Canada) also managing to get away.

Over the top of the climb Curi-Mattis led by 49 seconds over Carretta and Samplonius with the peloton at 1’18”. The veteran Canadian dropped the young Italian on the descent though in an effort to make it across to Curi-Mattis and they were both caught by the peloton, led by Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia).

Over the top of the second, smaller climb Curi-Mattis’ lead had increased to 1’26”; it continued to increase and was 2’09” as she crossed the line to start lap 5, the race’s halfway point.

Tiffany Cromwell (Australia) repeatedly tried to force the pace, stringing out the peloton once more but unable to break clear. Meanwhile up front though, Curi-Mattis’ lead was continuing to grow as the lone American smoothly pedalled her way towards the climb of the ridge once more.

As the peloton hit the base of the climb, with Curi-Mattis more than 2’30” clear, Shara Gillow (Australia) jumped clear and a small group followed; Zabelinskaya attacked over the top, not waiting for the group to form.

The Russian was caught before the top and the increase in pace, and with Curi-Mattis appearing to tire a little, the gap had reduced to 2’16”. By now the peloton was less than half its original size, with all of the favourites still present.

With Evelyn Stevens (United States) marking the front of the peloton though, the gap increased once more and was 2’45” at the end of he lap.

Carla Ryan (Australia) tried to escape as the main field approached the final kilometre, but the move was marked by Catherine Williamson (Great Britain) and the peloton caught up once more.

With Curi-Mattis visibly tiring up front Lizzie Armitstead and Sharon Laws (Great Britain) accelerated sharply, thinning the pack out further. At the summit the lead was 2’16” once more as Emma Johansson (Sweden) attacked over the top.

The Swede’s move pulled a number of favourites clear and a group of seven formed, made up of Johansson, Emma Pooley and Armitstead (both Great Britain), Noemi Cantele (Italy), Ruth Corset (Australia), Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Judith Arndt (Germany). They were unable to get far, but their intention had been stated.

As Curi-Mattis crossed the line with two laps to go, her lead over the 40 strong, Netherlands led peloton was down 1’22”.

The pace set by Chantal Blaak (Netherlands) on the front of the peloton saw the lead tumble further as the climb approached; as the slopes began it had fallen below a minute.

On the steepest section an attack came in from Luisa Tamanini (Italy), which was countered by Pooley, who’d been lurking at the front, and the recently crowned World time trial champion rode away. The Briton swept past the floundering Curi-Mattis, but was followed closely by the rest of the favourites, but they were brought back by the much-reduced peloton once more.

Over the top of the second climb an attack from Stevens was marked by Pooley, but was then countered by Tatiana Antoshina (Russia) and she escaped alone. The Netherlands took control of the front of the peloton though and managed to keep the lone Russian at no more than 10 seconds.

Antoshina was caught by an attack from Cantele and Williamson as they took the bell at the start of the final lap but the three riders were unable to get more than a small lead over the peloton, which was still controlled by the Netherlands.

The pace increased once more under the impetus of an attack from Elena Berlato (Italy), marked by Annemiek Van Vleuten (Netherlands) and Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania). As the peloton reformed though the Dutchwoman punctured, effectively ending her race.

On the climb Stevens accelerated once more, splitting the peloton further. It was led over the top by Johansson, but a counterattack from Cooke on the descent pulled the 2008 World champion away with just over 8km to go.

Cooke seemed to have got a decent lead, but a chase led by Germany and Italy pulled her back before the final climb.

As the road steepened, defending champion Guderzo attacked once more, but the move was countered over the top by Cooke, who was joined by Arndt. The two former riders exchanged turns as they were chased by Guderzo; the Italian was joined by Vos, Pooley, Johansson, Tara Whitten (Canada) and Leleivyte.

Pooley was marking any attempt to chase though, and they were unable to make much progress on the two former champions’ 13-second lead.

More riders joined the chasers from behind, including Erinne Willock (Canada), and she and Willock got together to chase the leaders; with still more riders making contact the chase began to pull the duo back.

As Cooke and Arndt took the final corner they still had a visible gap, but with both riders tiring on the uphill finishing straight the group behind them steadily pulled them back. Cooke launched a long sprint for the line but the pair was caught just at that point and Vos opened her own sprint at the right side of the road.

The Dutchwoman had Johansson on her wheel; the Swede looked to move between Vos and the barriers but changed her mind at the last moment and hesitated slightly.

Vos looked to have done it but Bronzini suddenly burst from behind her and Johansson, taking everyone by surprise to win by almost a bike length and condemn the Dutchwoman to an incredible fourth successive silver medal.

Result Women’s World Road Race Championship
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Italy
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Netherlands
3. Emma Johansson (Swe) Sweden
4. Nicole Cooke (GBr) Great Britain
5. Judith Arndt (Ger) Germany @ 1s
6. Grace Verbeke (Bel) Belgium @ 3s
7. Trixi Worrack (Ger) Germany
8. Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Lithuania
9. Elizabeth Armitstead (GBr) Great Britain
10. Carla Swart (RSA) South Africa



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