Top Ten for Tiffany Cromwell on Giro Rosa Stage FourWed 3 Jul 2013
Tiffany Cromwell was the top finisher for ORICA-AIS in the uphill sprint that called to a close the longest and warmest day of racing at the Giro Rosa. Following her ride in the breakaway yesterday, Cromwell slotted into ninth place today, 20” behind stage winner and maglia rosa Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv Giant). Shara Gillow finished 2” further back in 12th place. The duo remain the two best-placed Australians on the general classification, sitting just outside the top ten overall after four stages. Gillow maintained her hold on 11th place, 2’11 behind Vos. Cromwell jumped up one spot to 12th place overall at 2’28.
“We wanted to be aggressive and get a group down the road,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “Ideally, Gracie [Elvin] or Spratty [Amanda Spratt] would be the ones to make a breakaway. Amongst our riders, they were best suited to the sort of course we had today that ended with 2km of uphill.”
Despite the team’s best efforts, the peloton stayed together until the finish. Both Rabobank and Specialized-lululemon chased down breaks, indicating their intent to keep the field together.
“We really tried to get a group down the ride, but Rabobank and Specialized closed us down,” explained McPartland. “It was frustrating. They didn’t want a break to go clear today, which discouraged other teams and put an end to our chances. It became obvious fairly early that we’d be lining it up for a big group finish to the bottom of the uphill sprint.”
En route Cromwell snagged maximum points on the stage’s only GPM. Cromwell now sits one point behind mountain classification leader and maglia rosa Vos.
“Tiff won the hill climb today,” noted McPartland. “It wasn’t a priority of ours but we didn’t have to spend too much energy to get the points. Now that Tiff’s only one point out, we’re going to go for it. The climber’s jersey is something we could chase the next few days.”
The usual fight for position at the front of the bunch caused an increase in pace as the kilometres ticked down. The uphill finish would prove decisive.
“Specialized and Rabobank were on the front with about 15km to go,” explained McPartland. “We did the best we could to look after Shara and Tiff.”
Vos accelerated away from Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon), Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol) and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) just ahead of the finish. The trio crossed the line 3” behind the race leader. Small groups and solo riders followed suit.
“It was another good ride by Tiff and Shara,” said McPartland. “They’re definitely on good form.”
The longest stage of the tour is followed by the tour’s longest transfer. Adding insult to injury, today’s stage was also the hottest day of the tour. A 540km between finish town and start town adds unwelcome stress at the half point of the tour.
“It’s taxing for the girls and the staff to deal with 5.5 hours of driving,” said McPartland. “We won’t get to the hotel until 8:30PM and that’s when the work begins for the staff. It will be midnight or later when we finish. It’s not ideal, but it’s the same for everyone. We’re lucky to have a good group of girls who don’t waste time or energy whinging about it. They’re professionals. They know we need to deal with it and move on to the next day.”