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Bad luck and French trains deny Wiggle Honda in Trophée d’Or stage four

A tough course and a French railway crossing conspired to deny Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling in the fourth stage of the Trophée d’Or, in Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, in Burgundy. Anna-Bianca Schnitzmeier was the black and orange team’s best finisher, in 13th place, as bunch sprinted nine minutes and 33 seconds behind the winning group of seven.


World champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant) was the stage winner again, outsprinting Valentina Scandolara (MCipollini-Giordana) and Anna van der Breggen (Sengers Ladies) into second and third.

“The course was a bit rolling, apart from a section of around 35km that had five climbs in it,” said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. “One of them was nearly 15% for 2-300 metres, and they came one after the other. It all hit the fan on the third one, and that led onto the steep one and the group of seven went away.

“One got dropped, but their lead went up to four minutes,” he continued. “The Australian team started to chase, but with 25km to go it was over really, they didn’t have a chance; they were never coming back.


“Then they hit a level crossing and had to stop. They must have been there five or six minutes, and that’s why the gap went to ten minutes. They didn’t stop the break.

“The rule says that, if the break goes through and the peloton gets stopped, that’s okay,” Cope explained, “but if the break gets stopped and the peloton catches them, then the break gets the advantage when they restart.

“That’s why they took ten minutes, and that’s why everybody gave up the chase.”

Wet conditions for much of the stage caused Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders several mechanical problems, with Giorgia Bronzini, Dani King and Mayuko Hagiwara all experiencing difficulties.

“We had a few mechanicals early on in the race, which upsets the rhythm a little bit, and also plays with riders a little bit,” Cope explained.


“Giorgia had a bike change early in the race,” he said. “Dani had a bike change, and then punctured, but she got back every time. Mayuko gave her a wheel when she punctured, because we [in the team car] were caught behind.”

With seven riders taking so much time on the stage, the battle for the yellow jersey is now over for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling but, with two stages left, there will still be opportunities to take a positive result from the race.

“The GC is obviously set now – we might get a top ten out of it – but for the next two days we’ll be just trying to win a stage,” Cope said.


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