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Mayuko Hagiwara takes third place in GP Plumelec breakaway

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Mayuko Hagiwara took her first European podium of the season as she rode to third place in the GP Plumelec-Morbihan after having been in the late breakaway of the day. The Japanese Champion was just beaten to the line in the western France race’s uphill finish by Sheyla Gutierrez (Lointek) and Sandrine Bideau (Région Centre) after 30km out in front of the peloton.

Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Breton Champion and 2014 winner in Plumelec, repeated her fifth place of yesterday’s Classique Morbihan at the head of the next chasing group.

“Today in the end I had cramp in my leg when I began my sprint,” Hagiwara explained. “It would have been a big team victory, and I am sorry to everyone that I lost. It was a really successful weekend for the team.”

The 108km race was based on five laps of a 13.9km circuit, followed by five shorter 7.7km laps, all based on the finishing climb to the Côte de Cadoudal in the centre of Plumelec. The early laps saw a long solo break from yesterday’s second place, Pascale Jeuland (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope), who was allowed almost three minutes before Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling joined forces with Lointek to pull the French rider back.

As she began the first of the five short laps, Jeuland still had almost a minute, but she was pulled back shortly afterwards. Almost immediately Hagiwara began to attack the peloton and pulled what was to be the winning break clear. With the Japanese Champion, and Gutierrez and Bideau, were Charlotte Bravard (Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope) and Coralie Demay (Team Breizh). Between them the five riders managed to get two minutes ahead of the peloton before a counterattacking group began to bridge across.

“The bunch was not so big, and there were not so many big teams, but it was also very difficult,” said Hagiwara. “In this case it was a very different kind of difficult to other races, but we managed two race days with only five riders. It was so great.

“Audrey especially gave me a lot of guidance how I should ride the race,” the Japanese Champion added modestly. “I just had to try to follow her advice and stick to the team plan. It was a very good experience for me as I still learn how to race. I feel that I should race more smart, and to stay calm.”

Defending Champion Cordon-Ragot was present in a group of seven riders that began to close in on the five leaders but, with just one lap of the 7.7km circuit to go, they still led by more than half a minute. Hagiwara, Gutierrez and Bideau then left Bravard and Demay behind.

Cordon-Ragot led what had become a group of almost 20 riders home, 45 seconds behind the winner.

“I learned a lot today, and I hope I can keep in racing strong and smart,” Hagiwara concluded. “Tomorrow is the final race of this weekend, in Belgium, so we will keep trying!”

1. Sheyla Gutierrez (Lointek)
2. Sandrine Bideau (Région Centre)
3. Mayuko Hagiwara (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)

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