Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Giorgia Bronzini completed her almost total domination of the Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic – the Bay Crits – with a powerful sprint victory on stage four, taking her personal total in the race up to three. The former two-time World road champion hit the finish line several lengths clear of the battle for second place once again, which was taken by compatriot Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) ahead of Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Securitor).
The race had seen a five-rider breakaway escape early, with Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Linda Villumsen present. The New Zealander picked up second place in the first intermediate sprint, and first in the second, to secure the green points jersey for Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling teammate Peta Mullens.
The break was caught at the start of the final lap, however, and Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s Charlotte Becker led Bronzini out to perfection once again.
“It was another hard race today because the lap was flat and really fast, and you had to brake into all the corners and sprint out again, so it was hard on the legs,” Bronzini said afterwards.
“We had a breakaway with Linda, and we were happy with that because Linda was the strongest rider in front,” the Italian explained. “With about five laps to go the dhb Dream Team began to work, because they have a sprinter too and they had no one in front. For us this was good, because I was in the wheel and I could just think about the sprint.
“In the final Lotte was next to me, to put me in the best position in the last corner,” Bronzini added. “I came out of the wheel in the last corner and just sprinted, so I had not so bad legs!”
With an already near-unassailable lead in the general classification Bronzini, who had held the yellow jersey since her victory in stage one, became the first ever non-Australian rider to win the Bay Crits title in the event’s 20-year history.
“I feel really good about this!” Bronzini enthused. “I’m really happy to be the first European, non-Australian girl to win the Crits. I’m really happy for that, and it’s exciting to go into the race’s history like that.
“I’m really happy for the team too,” she added. “We won the yellow and the green too, so we’re pretty happy about it!”
Thanks to Bronzini’s dominance of the stage victories, as well as strong performances from Becker, Mullens, Villumsen and Emilia Fahlin, Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling also secured overall victory in the team classification.
“We put our faith in Linda and we were hoping that she could win from the break,” explained Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling team manager Rochelle Gilmore, herself a three-time Bay Crits champion. “She was the strongest one there and we were just treating it like a one-day race, but in the end it came back together and we could rely upon Giorgia for the sprint.
“I couldn’t have possibly asked for more from the team this week, the riders have all been amazing,” Gilmore added. “I think we made the race exciting, and we won the stage, the overall classification and the sprint classification. There are some strong riders here so it wasn’t easy.
“It’s a really good achievement, and a really great start to the season!”
Result stage 4
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
2. Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS)
3. Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Securitor)
Final General Classification
1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 46 points
2. Annette Edmondson (Orica-AIS) 34
3. Tiffany Cromwell (Specialized-Securitor) 30
Final Sprint Classification
1. Peta Mullens (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling) 11 points
2. Valentina Scandolara (Orica-AIS) 6
3. Lizzie Williams ((Specialized-Securitor) 6
Final Team Classification
1. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling 54 points
2. Orica-AIS 47
3. Specialized-Securitor 42