Reduced Bunch Sprint in Pontecagnano FaianoMon 1 Jul 2013
Stage two of the Giro Rosa saw another hectic finish in what proved to be a harder stage than expected. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) was the fastest at the finish just ahead of maglia rosa Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women). The defending champion strengthened her race lead, picking up bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint and on the line. Gracie Elvin was the top finisher for ORICA-AIS in 13th place.
The second stage was run over four 25km circuits, with each lap featuring a 1.2km climb averaging 6.6%. The objective for the ORICA-AIS squad was to get a group down the road to split up the race. In particular, the squad was looking to be aggressive in the third and fourth laps after the intermediate sprint was contested on lap two. However, the combination of solid racing and a difficult climb kept a threatening group from slipping off the front of the peloton.
“The racing during the first two laps was solid as was the climb on the circuit,” said Sport Director Dave McPartland. “Each time over the climb the peloton would split and come back together. It was more difficult than we thought. The girls were feeling the effects of the early racing and were unable to get anything down the road.”
The addition of GPM points on the last climb of the day added some horsepower to the pace as the climbers fought for the coveted points.
“It had been looking more and more like a bunch sprint at the start of the fourth lap,” added McPartland. “The last time up the climb the pace picked up because of the GPM. That’s where we lost Mel [Hoskins] and Jessie [MacLean]."
After losing the team’s main sprinters, the ORICA-AIS squad reshuffled their plan to put everything into the finish for Gracie Elvin.
“We were down a couple girls so we had to do the lead-out with limited numbers,” explained McPartland. “Loes [Gunnewijk] started a little too early with about 1km to go. Gracie was right behind Loes, but she didn’t have enough coverage from the wind. Gracie started her sprint, tried to leave it a little bit, and then went again. It’s not the most ideal way to sprint for the line. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but as a rider who is always working for others, it was a good opportunity to give Gracie a chance at the finish.”
Elvin was the top finisher for ORICA-AIS in 13th place. Tiffany Cromwell was six places back in 19th place. Elvin, Cromwell, Shara Gillow and Amanda Spratt all finished on the same time as Bronzini.
“Overall, we got through the stage without any dramas and had some positives,” added McPartland. “Jessie went off the front for a short time, Tiff took some GPM points and neither Shara nor Tiff lost any time. Shara and Tiff are both feeling strong so we are in a good position moving forward.”