Johansson gets better of close finish on stage 2 of Euskal Emakumeen BiraFri 12 Jun 2015
Swedish champion Emma Johansson has gone one better than yesterday’s close finish to win today’s stage two of the Euskal Emakumeen Bira, again by the narrowest of margins.
After a finish that ‘could have gone either way’ for second on stage one, Johansson came from behind to pip Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla Pro Cycling), who prematurely sat up, in a photo finish.
The 31-year-old remains third overall at the Spanish race, two seconds off leader Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Rabobank-Liv Woman’s Cycling Team).
“I thought it was a really close call, I really wasn’t sure at all,” Johansson said of her feelings crossing the line. “I was coming with a lot of speed and I saw that Annemiek let go of her handlebars so I thought that might be the thing to put it in my favour.”
“She didn’t know I was coming. I feel a little bit sorry for taking it away from her but after losing by so little yesterday, I sort of feel like I deserved a win today.”
ORICA-AIS finished with three riders in the top ten - Katrin Garfoot rounding up the podium in third and Amanda Spratt finishing 9th. After an active day in support of her team, Italian Valentina Scandolara was awarded most the combative rider of the stage.
“As I came around the last corner with 100m to go, Kat was up the road together with Annemiek and it was so close,” Johansson said.
“I didn’t want to take it away from Kat if she had the chance to go for it but once I saw that she was behind, I hit it as hard as I could and just made it.
“The team has so much confidence after our camp and results lately. And the fact that the results are spread around the girls, everyone has stepped up and everyone is contributing to every single victory is really exciting.”
The head of the race changed shape on numerous occasions throughout the 82.2km stage but it was following a final climb in the last ten kilometres that saw a group of eight, including three ORICA-AIS riders, contest for stage honours.
“There was a climb that peaked with about eight kilometres to go and at the top of that there was still quite a big group,” Johansson explained.
“But after it there was another smaller hill, about 1.5km and a lot steeper than the bigger climb, and over there we came with five riders before three more joined us before the finish.”
Tomorrow’s penultimate stage is the longest of the five-day Tour, a 112.2km journey from Iurreta to Iturmendi.