Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini has won the Silver Medal in the European Cycling Championships Road Race, in Herning, Denmark, in a close sprint with big World Championship rival Marianne Vos (Netherlands). Clad in the white and blue of Italy, Bronzini was just unable to come past the rider that she beat to the line in Geelong, Australia, in 2010, and Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2011 as the two fast-finishers arrived at the finish with Russian Olga Zabelinskaya.
“Marianne is always Marianne!” Bronzini laughed. “Today she had a really good shape so I tried to follow her. There was nothing more to do.”
Despite the flat course the exciting 120km race saw several promising groups get away from the peloton, with Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling riders Audrey Cordon Ragot of France, Julie Leth of hosts Denmark, Emilia Fahlin of Sweden and Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore all represented. With a number of powerful teams present, however, no break was able to get a decisive advantage.
The winning group had originally numbered six, with Bronzini joined by compatriot and Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling teammate Elisa Longo Borghini, former black and orange rider Charlotte Becker of Germany and Poland’s Kasia Pawłowska. The riders got away with around 25km of the race remaining; with most of the major teams represented, and with Longo Borghini working hard for her teammate, the group soon had a lead of around 45 seconds that proved impossible to close.
“From the beginning we tried not to have any Netherlands girl get away without us,” Bronzini explained. “We tried, and in the end when I was in front with Elisa it was perfect for us, because I could recover a bit and Elisa did the hard work. Also, if I would have to take my turns like Marianne did, I don’t know how tired I would be in the end.
“There wasn’t enough recovery to try to beat her anyway, so it was perfect for us. Better than the other teams for sure.”
Into the final 10km Pawłowska touched Zabelinskaya’s back wheel and crashed, then Becker was dropped shortly afterwards leaving four up front. Longo Borghini then used every last drop of her energy to hold onto the break’s slowly decreasing advantage before she too was forced to sit up with just over a kilometre left.
“I’m now going to prepare for the end of the season,” Bronzini continued. “For sure to try to get a spot in Worlds, and we’ll see what will my job will be over there. For sure Elisa is going to prepare for Worlds, because she loves the cold weather, the rain and the hard lap, so maybe I’ll give back the favour that she did for me today.”
1. Marianne Vos (Netherlands)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Italy)
3. Olga Zabelinskaya (Russia)
6. Jolien D’hoore (Belgium)
10. Emilia Fahlin (Sweden)
Photo Credit: Dario Belingheri/Bettini Photo
– but the sailors praise the new boats
photo David Cannon/Getty images