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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprints to second in Drentse 8 race
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to second place in the Drentse 8 race in Dwingeloo, in the northeastern Netherlands, at the end of a tough race around the windswept course. The two-time World champion was just beaten to the line by current rainbow jersey Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), with Swedish champion Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS) third.
“It was a hard race with a lot of wind, but I felt very strong and on the cobblestones I was always in the front,” Bronzini explained. “I tried to get into a breakaway, but in the end I was able to do a good sprint.
“It was a strange sprint because [Orica-AIS] pulled the group until the last kilometre but then stopped, which allowed everybody to catch up,” she added. “I was in a really bad position but managed to move forward in the last 500 metres, where I was able to sprint.”
Such a strong result for Bronzini in the first of three races in the area augurs well for Saturday’s main event, the Ronde van Drenthe, which will be the first race in the 2013 World Cup.
“Saturday will be even harder, because it is a World Cup, which will be good for me,” she said.
The 141.2km race, run around three laps of a 47km figure-eight circuit that gives it its name, crossed several sections of sharp, uneven, Drenthe cobblestones, with exposed roads and aggressive tactics causing the peloton to split into several pieces. There were several crashes in the opening kilometres of the race, with several big names being forced to abandon, but thankfully no Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders were affected.
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Australian Lauren Kitchen (below) was one of the most prominent riders in the second half of the race, as she bridged across to a breakaway from Maaike Polspoel (Sengers Ladies) and Ilona Hoeksma (Parkhotel). The trio led by almost a minute with 40km to go but, despite being joined by former World champion Marta Bastianelli (Faren-Let’s Go Finland), was caught with just over 25km left.
“Dutch racing is so hectic, it always has been,” explained Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “One minute you’re on a big wide boulevard main road, and the next minute you turn right and you’re on something barely the width of a car.
“I think the break was always going to come back anyway, but Lauren did a good job to get up there to protect our interests,” he added.
From that point the sprinters teams kept the race together, with Bronzini just unable to beat Vos in the dash for the line.
1. Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant)
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS)
22. Lauren Kitchen
27. Emily Collins
35. Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier
86. Mayuko Hagiwara
DNF Beatrice Bartelloni
18. February 95
Photography: Getty Images