Q&A With Tiffany Cromwell on Giro Rosa Stage Three

Tue 2 Jul 2013

Stage three of the Giro Rosa was a day for the opportunists as the lumpy stage finished with a category two climb into Cerro al Volturno. It was maglia rosa Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women) who took the stage honours today and further extended her overall lead. Tiffany Cromwell was having a strong ride alongside Vos until a crash 8km from the finish took her out of contention.

Attrition was the theme of the day. An early break of six riders slipped away from the peloton shortly after the stage start. Cromwell, Vos, Lauren Hall (USA), Lucinda Brand (Rabobank Women), Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini Giordana) and Barbara Guarischi (Vaiano Fondriest) worked together to put time into the peloton for the first 60km.

As the road undulated, the size of the break went from first from six to four and then from four to two. Cromwell and Vos found themselves trading pulls together on the front as their early breakaway companions were reabsorbed by a whittled down peloton.

It looked as if the stage win would might come down to a hotly contested battle between Cromwell and Vos until a tight switchback got the best of Cromwell on the descent. Vos took off to the finish alone while a disappointed Cromwell was caught by riders charging up the climb to the finish.

Tiffany Cromwell answers questions below about today’s action into Cerro al Volturno.

Q: What was the objective for the team today?

We wanted to be on the front foot, be aggressive. Today’s stage was best suited for Shara [Gillow] and myself. We knew it was a lumpy stage and would be hard, but it was harder than we expected from the beginning.

Q: How did the break of six get away?

After the first GPM, we went full gas all the way down the descent. It was so hard and fast that the split just happened. On my behalf, I can say it was so hard that I nearly ended up the in gutter on several occasions.

Q: The break went from to six to four to two riders. What was happening in the break to cause riders to drop off the pace?

Basically, people just came unglued. It wasn’t so aggressive. There were no attacks. People started to drop off the group one by one as we started climbing. Somewhere around 40km to go it was just Vos and myself – we had dropped everyone else.

Q: Were you and Vos working well together?

We were working pretty well together. I tend to be stronger on the climbs so that’s where I set my tempo - it’s better for me. I would set the tempo on the climbs and she would take over on the descents. We shared the work on the flats. By working together this way, we were able to open up the gap here and there.

Q: What happened to you on the final descent of the day?

Technically, Vos and I are pretty evenly matched, except on the descents. We were flying down the descents because it’s the easiest place to put time on the peloton. I was following her wheel when we hit two tight switchbacks 8km from the finish. I’m not exactly sure what I did, but I slid out and came down. I got up quickly and still had an advantage on the girls behind, but I had lost my momentum.

Q: How are you feeling after your crash?

I lost a little bit of skin, but I’m okay. Mostly I’m disappointed to have been so close to the finish and not get the chance to go for it. I could have been on the podium or even contested the win. I guess I pushed a little too far, but to hold Vos’ wheel for as long as I did is an achievement in itself. Vos is the best bike handler in the bunch.

Q: What is the overall take away from the day?

It was quite hard today. There was a lot of good racing. The racing was aggressive from the start – it was exciting to see that. I’m happy that I was able to get in the break and give it a good hard crack. That’s why we’re here. We’re here for the stages. I’m not going to be the strongest on the big, long climbs so today was a good day for me.