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Another podium for Giorgia Bronzini in Trophée d'Or stage three
Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's Giorgia Bronzini sprinted to yet another podium position in the third stage of the Trophée d'Or, in La Chappelle-Saint-Ursin, in Central France. With the stage taken in a solo breakaway from Anastasiya Chulkova (RusVelo), the former two-time World champion took second place in the bunch sprint behind current rainbow jersey Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant), a minute and ten seconds later.
"The Russian girl did a good ride," said Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling directeur sportif Simon Cope. "She attacked quite early on and her lead got up up to 2'40" maximum, but once they started to ride properly the time really came down.
"If they'd started ten kilometres earlier I think she would have been caught."
The stage was run in wet conditions, with slippery roads leading to a number of crashes early on. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's Olympic champion Dani King was among those affected, but was able to rejoin the peloton with the help of her teammates.
"We drove the lap of the circuit beforehand, and I'm not sure many teams did," Cope explained. "The stage set off in the pouring rain and it went down a little descent and the teams that hadn't had a look all slammed their brakes on and there was a big crash. Dani got caught in that, but Beatrice Bartelloni got her back on, which was a good bit of teamwork."
"Marta Bastianelli (Faren-Kuota) had a couple of goes, and there were one or two others, then Chulkova went and that was it. Everyone let her go, and thought that we were going to chase.
"We said before the race that if it came to a bunch sprint we'd go for it, but actually we were not going to worry too much today," said Cope. It's a big day tomorrow with a few climbs, and we didn't want to use the team up today, we wanted to save their power."
The double-stage day began with a 17.8km time trial in the morning, followed by a 78.3km road stage in the afternoon. Double Olympic champion Laura Trott was Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's best time trial finisher, in 16th place, just 1'38" behind winner Vos.
"It's not Giorgia's thing, so she just limited her losses," said Cope.
"Laura did a good ride. She said she didn't go full gas, but you never know with Laura," Cope laughed. "She says she feels bad and then just gets on her bike and just races it!
"We're happy with the way today turned out," Cope concluded. "We went out there to save the legs for tomorrow, because it's a tough day and we want as many people in the front group as possible. If Giorgia can get over those climbs she'll move up on GC. She's climbing really well right now."
1. Anastasiya Chulkova (RusVelo)
2. Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant)
3. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)