Giro Donne: Shara Gillow escapes into pink on hilly Abruzzo stage two
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Saturday, July 02, 2011

Giro Donne: Shara Gillow escapes into pink on hilly Abruzzo stage two

by Ben Atkins at 10:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Australian wins two-up sprint with Great Britain’s Sharon Laws

Shara GillowShara Gillow (Bizkaia-Durango) won the second stage of the Giro d’Italia Femminile, starting and finishing in the Abruzzo town of Pescocostanzo. The Australian, who only signed for the Spanish team just before the race, beat British rider Sharon Laws (Garmin-Cervélo) in a two-rider sprint at the end of the hilly 91km stage. Sylwia Kapusta (Gauss-RDZ-Ormu) finished in third place, just ten seconds behind them, with the remains of a breakaway group scattered on the road behind her.

“I’m speechless,” said Gillow after her victory. “I didn't think I’d win today. I knew I felt good, and have good condition, but to wear the pink Jersey is truly a great honour.

“The race today was suited to me, for me to get into the breakaway, and the race then went the way that I was hoping. In the end I felt good and so I attacked.”

The stage began with a 40km descent from the hilltop town, but as soon as the peloton reached the foot of the hill, the climb to the Madonnina Regiana della Pace began. Almost immediately a breakaway group of fourteen riders formed and rode away from the peloton as it made its way up the climb.

The group was made up of mountains leader Valentina Scandolara, Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and Kapusta (all Gauss-RDZ-Ormu), Iris Slappendel and Laws (both Garmin-Cervélo), Linda Villumsen and Chantal Blaak (AA Drink-Leontien.nl), Grace Verbeke (Topsport Vlaanderen 2012-Ridley), Ina Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad), Patricia Schwager (Nederland Bloeit), Andrea Dvorak (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo), Gillow, Elisa Longo Borghini (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) and Rachel Nylan (Diadora-Pasta Zara).

The presence of Schwager in the group meant that race leader Marianne Vos had no obligation to put the Nederland Bloeit team to work to bring the break back.

As Scandolara led the group over the top of the climb after 56km, ahead of Dvorak and Laws, they led the peloton by almost two minutes. The group had thinned a little on the climb though, with Longo Borghini, Slappendel, Sachwager, Neylan and Blaak being distanced, leaving nine up front.

On the final climb to the finish Kapusta attacked and only Gillow and Laws were able to follow. The three of them quickly distanced the other six, opening a gap of twenty seconds as they approached the final kilometres.

As the three leaders entered the final kilometre it was Gillow that made the first move, forcing a decisive gap over the other two; Laws almost managed to get back on terms, but the Australian had time to sit up and celebrate her victory in solo style.

Vos won the sprint for tenth place, ahead of Judith Arndt (HTC-Highroad) some 3’18” behind Gillow, and so loses her pink jersey to the Australian. She now leads Vos and the big race favourites by more than three minutes, but it remains to be seen how long she can hold onto the jersey as the race hits the bigger mountains towards the end of the week.

Result stage 2
1. Shara Gillow (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango, 91km in 2:3’48”
2. Sharon Laws (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo
3. Sylwia Kapusta (Pol) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 10s
4. Ferrier Bruneau Christel (Fra) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 46s
5. Grace Verbeke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 2012-Ridley @ 48s
6. Andrea Dvorak (USA) Colavita-Forno d’Asolo @ 57s
7. Ina Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) HTC-Highroad @ 1’06”
8. Valentina Scandolara (Ita) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 1’09”
9. Linda Villumsen (NZl) AA Drink-Leontien.nl @ 1’32”
10. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit @ 3’18”

Standings after stage 2
1. Shara Gillow (Aus) Bizkaia-Durango
2. Sharon Laws (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo @ 4s
3. Sylwia Kapusta (Pol) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 16s
4. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Fra) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 56s
5. Grace Verbeke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen 2012-Ridley @ 58s

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