• Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) wins the dash to the line in Stage 8 of the Giro Rosa (Velofocus)Source: Velofocus
It was an all Italian podium in Stage 8 of the Giro Rosa as two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) took her second win of the event.
Cycling Central

Wiggle High5
10 Jul 2016 - 8:39 AM  UPDATED 11 Jul 2016 - 9:42 AM

Bronzini beat compatriot, and fellow former rainbow jersey, Marta Bastianelli (Alé-Cipollini) in a close sprint for the line. Italian Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata) took third place just behind them.

“With about 400 or 350 metres to go Tiff Cromwell [Canyon-SRAM] started her sprint because her train was done, so she sprinted quite early,” Bronzini said.

“The sprint was just after a corner, but it was really fast. I just went out in the last hundred metres, looking out for Bastianelli on my left, but she was on the longer side of the road, so for me it was okay; it was good.”

The 99km stage featured a relatively flat profile, but the rolling Lombardy roads saw a group of nine riders get away, which included Wiggle High5’s French time trial champion, Audrey Cordon-Ragot. With nobody in the group a threat to the top of the general classification, it looked as though it was going to be left to contest the stage victory, but they were eventually closed down.

“It was a really, really, really fast race, and when some climbing started there was a breakaway with Audrey in it,” Bronzini said. “We were pretty happy for that, to give Audrey a chance.

“Then at some point Liv-Plantur started chasing back. We didn’t know why, so we asked them why, and they said it was because they wanted to save the 11th place of Leah Kirchmann in the general, because there was [Canyon-SRAM’s Alena] Amialiusik in front.

“When the gap was down to 20 seconds they stopped, and that’s when Rabo-Liv took the lead because, I think, they wanted to pull the sprint for [Lucinda] Brand. By then there were only three in front and Rabo, and also Canyon, didn’t stop.”

With team-mate Cordon-Ragot in the breakaway ahead, Bronzini was able to organise herself and her Wiggle High5 team-mates in the approach to the coming sprint. Unfortunately, an incident with around 7km to go almost derailed the former World Champion’s train, but in choosing the right wheels to follow Bronzini was able to position herself perfectly.

“I was being led out by Elisa [Longo Borghini] and Chloe [Hosking] but unfortunately Chloe was forced onto a hole in the road and punctured a wheel, so I was just with Elisa,” Bronzini said.

“Elisa brought me on the Canyon leadout, and I stayed on Tiff Cromwell’s wheel; I just fought to have Tiff’s wheel.

“I’m really happy for the team, for the win again, and for the staff. I’m really, really happy!”

The victory is the second of Bronzini’s Giro, and the fourth for Wiggle High5, following Hosking’s win on stage three, and Mara Abbott’s on stage five.

“It’s not really had, huh!” Bronzini said.

Australian, Cromwell, who won Stage 4, finished the sprint in eighth.

"We planned that if it would come down to a bunch kick, then we would decide on the road if it would be Barbara [Guarischi] or I who would do the sprint,” Cromwell said.

“In the end it was a bunch sprint and we worked for me. The girls still did a really solid lead out considering they were only with three. Ale Cipollini were trying to fight me off our train so I had to spend some energy to hold them out.

“We were in good position going into the second last corner. I just didn't have the legs in the final, I mean no one really does at day nine of a tour. But as soon as I got out of the saddle and started sprinting I knew I didn't have the acceleration that I was going to need to win."

The final stage tonight is 104.8km around the scenic lakeside city of Verbania. Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) still holds a 34 second lead in the general classification over her team-mate Evelyn Stevens.