Tiffany Cromwell sprinted to fifth in Capannori from a group of 17 riders that formed on the descent ahead of the final climb. Inga Cilvinaite (Diadora Pasta Zara) won the third stage of the Giro della Toscana as Malgorzata Jasinska (Mcipollini Giambenini) successfully defended her race lead. Cromwell and Sports Director Dave McPartland describe the day.
It was a moderately hard course today. Yesterday’s queen stage was the hardest of the race, but today was a day where the overall had potential to change a lot, too. We’ve fallen down on the overall with Jess [Jessie MacLean], who missed out on the front move. Tiff moved up some, cracking the top ten and slotting into eighth overall.
We’re not here to chase the general classification. Our main priority is to prepare for Worlds. We added this race to our schedule last minute to give Jess and Tiff five additional race days, and it’s gone well for them both so far.
We lost Row [Rowena Fry] today, and we found ourselves a bit on the back foot without her. She’s still coming back from illness, and she suffered today. She also has Worlds upcoming – Mountain Bike Worlds in one week – so she’ll just prepare for that now.
Jess felt yesterday in her legs after spending 110 kilometers in a breakaway. She paid for it today. Tiff said she wasn’t feeling her best either, and on the final climb, it was obvious that she wasn’t quite as good as she was yesterday. The front group split about two-thirds of the way up the last climb when the main players put the hammer down. Only five riders made the move, and Tiff missed it. I thought for sure she would have been in that group with the way she’s been riding.
In the end, it didn’t matter much that she missed the move. Tiff was in the second group, and the first two groups on the road came back together on the descent off that final climb.
From there, the front group of 15 or so riders remained together. Cilvinaite went on the attack about five kilometers from the finish, and she held off the group. Good riding from her to hold them off all the way to the line. She deserved that win for an attack like that.
Tiff rode as well as she could today but she wasn't quite as good as she or I would have hoped. She was a bit flat. If she had been in that front group of five when the split happened on the climb, we would have both been happy. It would have shown she can stay with the very, very best when the hammer goes down even when she’s not feeling her best – and that would have been a huge boost to her confidence.
As Dave said, I had terrible legs today, but I suffered through what turned out to be an aggressive race right from the start. The first two laps were full gas with Mcipollini attempting to take control to protect the jersey with all the other teams launching attack after attack. Splits would happen regularly, but the bunch kept coming back together, and we were still a pretty large group coming into the second half of the race.
Everything changed on the final climb when Fabiani Luperini (Faren Honda) did a massive attack. She blew the group to bits, and eventually a selection was made. The leading group split nearly to the top of the climb, and I missed that move but the two groups came back together on the descent.
We have such few numbers. We lost Spratty [Amanda Spratt] yesterday. Today, it was just Jessie, Row and me. I tried to get Jessie into a break, but she was feeling the same way I felt. Going up the road was out of the question.
Tomorrow is a fast, flat stage with two category three climbs to break things up slightly. It’s the same stage that was used as the final race day last year. I don’t remember much from the first of the two climbs, but the I remember the bunch stayed together until the second climb over Florence. The stage ends with a technical finish that includes some sections of pavé.
I don’t fancy too much happening tomorrow. It would be a good opportunity for Jessie in the finish or maybe I could have a go on the final climb with a late attack for a stage win.
Row pulled out today, too. We’re down to two riders for the last day of racing. Although we don’t have many cards to play, we’ll do what we can with what we have.