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Edmondson second again in complicated Route de France Stage Four finish

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson finished second in the 2015 Route de France for the second time, as she finished just behind compatriot Loren Rowney (Australian National Team), who had escaped in the complicated stage four finale. Roxane Fournier (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope) finished third, a second behind the two Australians, while Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini finished safely in sixth place, and holds onto her overall race lead as the race heads into its queen stage.

“I was in fourth wheel, behind two Optum girls who almost crashed, so I had to go up onto the footpath and do a standing start,” Edmondson said. “By that time I couldn’t think about a lead out or anything because Loren was jut too far in front. So I had an 800 metre attack, I guess, and I almost got her!”

The 103km stage, between Autun and Louhans Chateaurenaud, saw a number of crashes, including one in the peloton with 300 metres to go, but all six Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling riders made it through unscathed. There were also several attacks, but none were able to get clear until Silvia Valsecchi (BePink-LaClassica) escaped in the final 30km. The Italian was able to get 1’15” ahead before she was pulled back by hard work from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling.

“Today the team plan was to keep Elisa in the yellow at the end of the day, and also hopefully have a bunch sprint and go for either Giorgia [Bronzini] or me,” Edmondson explained. “We were going to see how we feel. And then there were quite a few attacks throughout the race, and there was also a hill halfway through – so that was quite solid – but other than that it mostly stayed together until that BePink girl got away.”

“The gap went out quite quickly, so we put all our girls on the front. So we had Anna [Christian], Audrey [Cordon-Ragot] and Mayuko [Hagiwara] swapping off turns, and keeping it at a reasonable distance, before we had to bring it back quickly. And they managed to bring it back with 10km to go.

“Then it was up to Gio, myself and Elisa to make sure we stayed together, and in one piece for the final, to make sure there were no time gaps and keep Elisa in yellow. Obviously Gio and I were trying to set ourselves up for the win.

“Because my legs felt quite good we were going to work for me, but then it was quite messy, with a few corners in the last kilometres. We had to stay near the front, and luckily we were, although it came down to the last 800 metres and there was a corner to the right, and Loren Rowney went around it first.”

Because of some small splits in the peloton in the final bends, Longo Borghini actually extended her General Classification lead by two seconds. Tomorrow’s fifth stage heads into the Vosges mountains, to finish atop La Planche des Belles Filles (a climb that has featured in the men’s Tour de France on two occasions – with the 2012 and 2014 stages won by Chris Froome and Vincenzo Nibali) where time gaps are expected to be far bigger.

“Although I’m a little bit frustrated to come second again, I guess it was a pretty good result considering there was so much carnage,” said Edmondson. “There were a few crashes that we had to dodge; there was another one about 1.4km out. Gio managed to keep out of trouble, and Elisa managed to come in sixth; and she was helped out by Audrey, who’d just finished swapping off. Mayuko helped me out as well – she brought me up with about a kilometre and a half to go – so it was big team effort today. Although it was a bit messy we came out pretty good.

“Tomorrow it’s all about defending the yellow as we go into the mountains!”

1. Loren Rowney (Australian National Team)
2. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
3. Roxane Fournier (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope)


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