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Giorgia Bronzini Wins Drentse 8 In Breakaway Sprint

Giorgia Bronzini took Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s second victory in five days as she won the Molecaten Drentse 8 van Westerveld in Dwingeloo, Netherlands, in a sprint from a group of seven riders. The former two-time road World Champion was by far the fastest of the breakaway that arrived at the finish at the end of the 138km race, beating Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla) into second and third.

“I told the girls that I wasn’t feeling so good today, because of my wrist and I have a cold, so I would work for them,” Bronzini said. “We came into the small lap and I was up the front, and there was an attack – the first really serious one – and I jumped over, and the break had gone!

“I could do nothing, I was in the break!” Bronzini laughed. “I tried to be a little bit smart because my shape is not the best, and I can’t work really hard. I thought that the break would be chased down by the other teams, but it wasn’t. I tried to take my turn, but I didn’t have any power.

“In the end they tried to attack me, but I could follow the moves,” she added. “I was on van Vleuten’s wheel on the last corner, and I gave her a little bit of a gap. I came out with 200 metres to go, and it was okay at the end!”

Bronzini’s win is her first of the season, but the second for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling inside five days, after Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore’s Omloop van het Hagelend victory on Sunday.

“We are going well! It’s good!” Bronzini laughed.

The race – so called because the route map traditionally resembles a figure-eight – consisted of two loops of a long circuit to make up the first 101.7km, and finished with five laps of a 7.4km circuit. The usual winds that dominate races in this part of the Netherlands were absent, which saw the peloton stay together for much of race but, as the race hit the smaller circuit, the decisive break got clear on the narrow roads.

The group originally numbered eight, with Bronzini, Scandolara and Van Vleuten joined by Loren Rowney (Velocio-SRAM), Willeke Knol (Liv-Plantur), Emilie Moberg (Hitec Products), Alice Arzuffi (Inpa-Sottoli) and Heather Fischer (USA). The break built a lead of more than half a minute, before being pegged back to just ten seconds for some time. As the main peloton began to split behind them, however, the gap began to grow again, to almost two minutes as the eight riders entered the final kilometres.

Attacks and accelerations saw Arzuffi dropped in the last few kilometres to take the break down to seven, but nobody was able to break free. Despite a late move from van Vleuten the group arrived at the finish together and, although she was feeling far from her best, Bronzini – as expected – was the fastest.

The finish was marred a little after a spectator appeared to reach out his arm and grab Rowney’s handlebars as she passed, causing the Velocio-SRAM rider to come crashing down just behind Bronzini; the Australian unfortunately suffered a fractured collarbone and the incident is currently being investigated by the race organisation.

“In the first moments I thought that it maybe was my fault, but my sprint was okay and she had time,” Bronzini explained. “We just saw the video and someone – a spectator – took her handlebar, and that is really crazy; a really crazy thing!”

1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

2. Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS)
3. Annemiek van Vleuten (Bigla)


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