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Bronzini takes third Ardèche stage win as Villumsen holds her lead

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini took her third victory in the 2014 Tour de l’Ardèche as she sprinted ahead of the field at the end of stage six, between Grignan and Rochegude. The former two-time road World Champion – who had already won stages one and four – finished several lengths clear of Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink) and Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren), in second and third place after 142.8km hilly kilometres.

“In final kilometre Linda Villumsen brought me into the first positions,” said Bronzini. “I knew it was a technical final because, with 20km to go, Linda brought me the map of the last-k. So we knew the corner, and we were prepared in our minds how the final could be technical.

“I didn’t know that it was a little bit uphill, but when I saw the final I said ‘okay, I can sprint up here,’” Bronzini added. “I took Ratto’s wheel and I came out with about 150 to go, and I had a big gap in the end.”

The longest stage of the race saw a seven-rider group get clear, including sixth place overall Amélie Rivat (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86), who began the day just two minutes and 41 seconds behind Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s race leader Villumsen. The team was able to keep the group under control, however, and, although the remains of the break were still more than a minute and a half clear with just over 25km to go, the last riders were caught well before the finish.

“The map said that the stage was going to be really hard today, but we perfectly managed the climbs because we let a break go,” explained Bronzini. “We were not represented, but we rode well behind it and stayed together. Astana was represented, and also a teammate of Ratto, and Australia, so it was a perfect breakaway for the bunch.

“So the rest of the bunch took its time and the breakaway was always at about one minute thirty, or one minute forty. Not so much.”

“We didn’t want to take a risk on the final downhill with Linda, so we stayed with her, but after that there was some really amazing work form Emilia Fahlin and Emily Collins – working with two girls from Futuroscope – from 25km to go. We caught the break with about eight kilometres to go.

“Linda then stayed in front of me to stop any more breaks from going, then afterwards Emily and Emilia came to the front again for the last kilometres.”

Villumsen finished in the group behind teammate Bronzini, retaining her 12-second lead over Tayler Wiles of the ‘Mixte Internationale’ team. The Danish-born New Zealander has just one more stage to negotiate to secure the overall race victory.

“Tomorrow all hands will be on Linda’s back,” Bronzini said. “Whatever happens we will be there next to her.”

1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Alena Amialiusik (Astana-BePink)
3. Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico-Faren)

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