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Giorgia Bronzini wins Bira Stage 3 after a day of incredible teamwork

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini crowned an incredible day of teamwork from the black and orange team as she won the third stage of the Emakumeen Bira, in Berriatua, in a reduced-bunch sprint. The former two-time road World Champion was led into the final corner by race leader, Swedish Champion Emma Johansson – who herself had won the previous two stages – and the Italian was able to beat American Carmen Small (Cervélo-Bigla) to the line. Bronzini’s compatriot Rossella Ratto (Cylance) won the battle for third place at the end of the 105km, hilly circuit stage.

“It was a really, really amazing job from all the girls,” said Bronzini. “They did everything, and I was so, so happy because there was so much work on the day and then we had a win. I’m really proud.

The victory is the second of Bronzini’s season, but very different from her first. The GP Dottignies win came at the end of a fast, flat race, while this saw the experienced Italian prove once again that she is a sprinter that can make it over the hills.

“I’m trying to be selected for the Olympic Games,” she explained. “So for sure I need to show that I can be able to climb and not lose my sprint, so I’m happy for that.”

The stage, based on three laps of a circuit that included the 3rd category Alto de Mellerudi, saw just one successful breakaway, from Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels-Dolmans), who escaped just after the midway point. The Canadian was no immediate threat to Johansson’s overall lead, and was allowed to remain ahead for several kilometres, but Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling worked to close her down in the final lap, and she was caught with just a few kilometres to go.

“It was a hard day, and obviously we had the responsibility to keep the yellow,” Bronzini explained. “So on the first lap all the girls were in the front to keep a good speed and stop the other teams attacking. Then we also pulled until the first bonus sprint, and Emma took some seconds.

“Then there was the attack of [Canuel], and we let her have some space because she was back on the classification. On the third lap the girls went on the front to pull, and in the end the last rider to pull was Elisa with Emma; Emma came to me and asked me if I had the legs for a sprint, and I said ‘yeah!’

“Emma did the last part of the work – because after we caught [Canuel] there were lots of attacks that she and Elisa had to follow. Then Emma pulled me in the sprint in the last 500 metres; she took me to the last corner and I did my sprint.

“Being in this team is really good though, because sometimes you work, and sometimes it’s your time, and there’s always a chance to have your time. It was really nice to see the yellow jersey pull the sprint; it’s not every day you’re going to see that.”

Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Elisa Longo Borghini led Johansson over the line safely in 10th and 11th places respectively. Seconds gained at intermediate sprints mean that the Swedish Champion has extended her overall lead over Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) to 25 seconds with one day to go.

1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)

2. Carmen Small (Cervélo-Bigla)
3. Rossella Ratto (Cylance)

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