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No reward for an active Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling on Giro Rosa stage four
With the speeding peloton unwilling to let a breakaway establish itself on the fourth stage of the Giro Rosa, the riders of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling decided to work towards securing a second stage victory for former two-time World champion Giorgia Bronzini. Unfortunately, however, Bronzini was just unable to follow the devastating sprint from current rainbow jersey Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/GIant) on the uphill finishing straight and crossed the line in 18th place.
"As the race was staying together I asked the girls to work for me, because I was feeling good," said Bronzini after the stage. "In the final the climb was not as steep as yesterday so I tried to resist, and the girls kept me in the best position.
"I was around fifth or sixth position at 300 metres, but when Claudia Häusler [Tibco-To The Top] began the sprint it was too long for me," Bronzini explained. "But I'm proud of the team, because they did a very good job today and I was only sorry that the final was too long."
It was expected that a group of riders would be able to escape the peloton in what, at 137.2km, was by far the longest stage of the race. Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling was not the only team with this tactic in mind, however, which meant that nobody was able to get away.
"It was a stage where we thought that a breakaway would go, and stick, so we wanted to be involved," explained Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling's Lauren Kitchen. "We were trying to get into the break and keep it going, but I think most of the teams had that idea, so we had a very fast stage, but a break didn't manage to stick the whole day.
"So then we wanted to set up Giorgia for the finish," Kitchen continued. "We knew it would be a tough finish, but we didn't know exactly how tough, and we were confident that she's climbing quite well and that she'd be up there in the final mix, in the final kilometre, which was really quite uphill.
"We worked to put Giorgia in the best position, which was on Marianne's wheel, and she was vey happy there," Kitchen added. "But the top GC riders started attacking with about 600 metres to go and Giorgia was just unable to hold on to the top ten."
Stage four was not only the longest stage of the race, but it was also the hottest one so far, with the women's peloton thankfully enjoying far better conditions than those endured in the men's Giro d'Italia back in May.
"It was a very fast stage, and it was very hot," Kitchen explained. "It was about 40 degrees all day and we averaged close to 40kph as well, so it was a fast day as well.
"It was good, we did what we wanted to do, but there was just no beating Marianne on a finish like that," Kitchen added. "We'll try again tomorrow, and try and make something of the race. The profile doesn't ideally suit us as a team, but we'll try and make our mark on it."
1. Marianne Vos (Rabobank-Liv/Giant)
2. Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon)
3. Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol)
18. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling)
14. March 178
photo Cheltenham jockey club
14. March 197
photo Cheltenham Racecourse
10. March 182
Slovakian alpine skier narrowly beats Millie Knight to capture gold photo Getty Images