Giro della Toscana: Becker wins HTC-Highroad’s final women's race, Guarnier secures her biggest ever victory
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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Giro della Toscana: Becker wins HTC-Highroad’s final women's race, Guarnier secures her biggest ever victory

by Ben Atkins at 11:10 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Former German champion outpaces the break on the sprinters’ stage; Guarnier becomes the first American to win the pre-Worlds stage race

Charlotte BeckerCharlotte Becker (HTC-Highroad) won the final stage of the Giro della Toscana between Lucca and the Tuscan capital Florence. On what is usually a stage that goes to the sprinters, the former German champion outpaced a three-woman breakaway that escaped on the 3rd category climb to the Piazzale Michelangelo with just over five kilometres to go.

Becker outsprinted Svetlana Bubnenkova (Russia), the winner of the 2006 edition of the race, with five-time Giro d’Italia winner Fabiana Luperini (MCipollini-Giambenini) taking third, two seconds behind. World champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita-Forno d’Asolo), who won the same stage last year, led the peloton home after 26 seconds.

"We knew we had to get a girl in the break," said HTC-Highroad sports director Ronny Lauke, "There were a lot of attacks, ongoing through the whole stage today.

"At eleven kilometers to go, Charlotte took of with two other riders and outsprinted them," Lauke expalined. "It was a great win to watch."

The early part of the 95km stage saw the peloton all together, with only American Amber Pierce (Diadora-Pasta Zara) attempting to break the stalemate. On a small, unclassified climb in Cartello Laparto after 33km though, Petra Dijkman (Dolmans Landscaping) and Silvia Valsecchi (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) escaped. The duo was not able to get far ahead of the Michela Fanini-Record-Rox led peloton, but managed to stay away long enough for Dijkman to take the points on the 3rd category climb to Serravalle after 56.5km.

Once the two riders were absorbed by the peloton, the race stayed together until it arrived in the Tuscan capital where, on the final climb, Bubnenkova attacked. The Russian veteran was followed by Becker and Luperini, and the trio was 17 seconds ahead of the peloton over the top with 5.1km to go. This lead increased to 26 seconds by the time the three fugitives reached the finish, where the superior sprint of the German was too much for the other two.

Becker will now travel north to join the German team in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the World championships, armed with the positive omen that the winner of the 2010 Florence stage, Giorgia Bronzini, went on to take the rainbow jersey.

Despite a minor mid-stage crash, race leader Megan Guarnier (United States) finished safely in the peloton to hold on to her 36-second lead over 2009 Giro d’Italia winner Claudia Häusler. The Tibco-To the Top rider takes the biggest win of her career and becomes the first American to win the Tuscan stage race.

Result stage 6
1. Charlotte Becker (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. Svetlana Bubnekova (Rus) Russian National Team
3. Fabiana Luperini (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini @ 2s
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Colavita Forno d’Asolo @ 26s
5. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
6. Monia Baccaille (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini
7. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini

Final overall standings
1. Megan Guarnier (USA) United States National Team
2. Claudia Häusler (Ger) Diadora-Pasta Zara @ 36s
3. Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano-Solaristech @ 1’25”
4. Sylwia Kapusta (Pol) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 1’34”
5. Tatiana Antoshina (Rus) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu @ 1’57”
6. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini @ 1’58”
7. Polona Batagelj (Slo) Slovenian National Team @ 1’59”
8. Johanna Van De Winkel (RSA) Lotto Honda Team @ 2’26”
9. Flavia Oliveira (Bra) Vaiano-Solaristech @ 2’38”
10. Elena Cecchini (Ita) Colavita Forno d’Asolo @ 2’39”


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