Linda Villumsen Sprints to Second on Giro del Trentino Opener

Thu 28 Jun 2012

In her first day riding under the newly-renamed ORICA-AIS, Linda Villumsen delivered a second place finish in Italy. Villumsen sprinted to second on the opening stage of Giro del Trentino from a group of eight riders that had formed on the two circuit laps that made up the bulk of the race. Noemi Cantele (Be Pink) took the stage win.

“I’m happy with Linda’s ride today,” said Sports Director Dave McPartland. “I didn’t expect her to be up there if it came to a sprint. I expected her to be maybe fourth or fifth – somewhere around there. The way she sprinted today was really impressive. We were watching it on the television in the car. From what I saw, I reckon she could win these sorts of sprints in the future.”

ORICA-AIS had intended to make an aggressive race from the start. McPartland anticipated using his riders to attack on the early climbs to split the race.

“We didn’t have to do that,” McPartland said. “The race split itself wide open from the start. In the opening kilometers, we hit a decent eight kilometer climb. The climb split the race into several small groups. Down the other side, six or seven groups formed, and that’s what made this race.”

Judith Arndt and Claudia Häusler joined Villumsen in a front group of 18 riders. The elite group entered the two circuit laps together.

“The group would repeatedly splinter and come back together,” explained McPartland. “Eventually a group of eight formed. We had Linda in this group of eight with Claudia and Judith in what had now become the second group on the road.”

As Villumsen’s group solidified their lead, Alexis Rhodes bridged across to the second group.

“Alex came up to the second group with five or six other riders,” noted McPartland. “It was a good ride for her to get across like that. We had numbers in the second group that we weren’t able to use, but it was insurance for Linda to know she had three teammates back there if her move didn’t stick.”

The move stuck, and the eight rider front group entered the finish circuit together with 22 kilometers left to race.

“Emma Pooley (AA Drink – was the most active in that group,” McPartland said. “Linda rode well. She was on Emma’s wheel every time she attacked.”

Despite Pooley’s attempt to get away, the eight would contest the finish amongst themselves.

“It was a slightly uphill finish for the last 800 meters,” explained McPartland. “Noemi Cantele kicked first, and Linda was on her wheel straightaway. That’s where she was coming out of during the final meters. From what Linda said, she was able to come right alongside of Noemi but it was too late. They were already across the line.”

Without time bonuses on the line, Villumsen is tied on time with the race leader. Tomorrow’s double day with a short road stage in the morning and an afternoon time trial will determine the race winner.

“I’m confident with Linda in the time trial, but we still have a stage ahead of the time trial to worry about first,” noted McPartland. “We’ll concentrate on tomorrow’s morning stage first and see where we are before we head into the time trial.”