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Bronzini Repeats In Tour De L’Ardèche Opening Stage Sprint

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini continued her winning summer with a repeat of her 2013 victory in the opening stage of the Tour de l’Ardèche, between La Voulte and Beauchastel, as it finished in a bunch sprint. The former two-time former road World Champion sprinted to the line clear of Specialized-lululemon’s Tiffany Cromwell and Hitec Products’ Chloe Hosking, riding for  Australia and a ‘Mixte International’ team respectively.

“It was a really windy stage today,” Bronzini said afterwards. “There were two laps – one small and one longer – and there were some breakaways but we were covering everything.

“In the end we thought about the sprint and the girls did a lead out for me,” the Italian explained. “Everyone was on the lead out. The last one was Lotte [Becker] and I went out from her wheel to the Australian ones with 500 metres to go; I just jumped out with 200 metres to go and I began my sprint.”

The 102km stage was made up of one 28.8km loop, ten 7km loops, and ended in a separate 1.3km bolt for the line. There were several attempts to create a breakaway, but the only rider able to open a significant gap was Hosking’s ‘Mixte’ teammate Olivia Dillon. The Irish rider was clear for around 15km, with a maximum gap of around 45 seconds, but was pulled back well before the finish by a powerful chase from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.

Knowledge of the finishing straight – which was only tackled at the end of the stage despite it being based on a circuit – meant that Bronzini was able to time her sprint to perfection and repeat her victory of last year.

“It was the same,” Bronzini confirmed. “It was exactly the same in the final kilometre. It was a different lap, but the final was the same.

“It was a copy of last year!” Bronzini laughed, referring to the fact that Cromwell also took second place in 2013.

Bronzini’s victory sees the former World Champion take the race’s pink leader’s jersey, but doesn’t expect to keep it for long.

“The team is working really, really well,” she said. “Tomorrow will be a time trial which is not my best thing. I know we start with the jersey but I think I’m going to lose it! I will be happy though, if it should go to one of my teammates. We will work for that I hope.”

1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Tiffany Cromwell (Australia)
3. Chloe Hosking (Mixte International)

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