Emma Johansson Remains in Leader's Jersey at Mid-Point of Route de FranceTue 6 Aug 2013
Emma Johansson powered to second on the Route de France stage three uphill sprint. Although Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) made it three for three, taking out the third consecutive road stage of the French tour, with no bonus seconds at intermediate sprints or the finish line, Johansson remains in the orange leader’s jersey at the mid-point of the eight day tour.
“I thought the final circuit was going to be flat with a lot of corners today,” said Johansson. “Surprise! – it turned out to be a lot of corners and a lot of steep, little hills. I thought it was going to be a good final for Mel [Hoskins] initially, but when I saw it, I thought it could be a good final for me instead. I gave it a real go to try to bring the stage win home today, but Bronzini was too fast.”
The peloton enjoyed an uneventful start to the day. Sandrine Bideau (Vienne-Futuroscope) escaped early and spent the first half of the stage up the road in a solo move.
“We let one girl up the road by herself,” said Sport Director Brian Stephens. “Wiggle Honda was fairly keen to control, so they brought her back. It was altogether for a fair bit after that.”
“Because it was mostly flat until the last 10km or so, today was a lot better from a team perspective,” added Johansson. “Wiggle Honda did the chase work, so our whole team came fresh onto the circuits. That definitely helped us. We could race with more riders at the front and have more riders to cover moves. We finished strong today.”
Gracie Elvin led the peloton onto the deceptively difficult finish circuit, and then the action heated up immediately.
“Gracie and Nettie did a good job keeping the speed high onto the circuit,” said Johansson. “I was sitting in perfect position. Tiff [Cromwell] and I had to cover a few attacks, but mostly I was able to let the team do the work.”
“Linda [Villumsen] (Wiggle Honda) was leading out Bronzini into the finish,” continued Johansson. “I was on Linda’s wheel. The road went downhill until about 400m and then it kicked back up again. I knew I needed to jump before I lost any of the speed I gained on the descent.”
Johansson opened up the sprint. Despite the head-start, Bronzini came around her to handily win the stage. .
“I had to start before Bronzini for a chance to beat her,” Johansson explained. “There was no way I could do it if I waited for her to start the sprint. I did a really hard kick, but she easily came around me. I have power. She has power and speed. It wasn’t even close, but we tried. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.”