After yesterday's sufferfest, with endless short climbs of 20%, you'd think the peloton would have been pleased to have a flat stage of only 68km long.... Except for the fact it started with a huge climb.... and when the stages are short and flat, the riders go crazy! After three days in the grupetto, the sprinters were ready for action, and of course, this IS women's cycling, sprint stages are just opportunities for making things even harder! Last year, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg won the first four stages of the Giro, and if there's one team that knows how to make the flat stages even harder and faster, it's HTC-Highroad!
Here's a local news report with highlights of today's stage - and there's more information about how the stage panned out below. As always, any video, photos and fun things should turn up in the comments.
(this article has been edited to add in more information!)
Teute's team-mate Amanda Miller, is proving herself to be the Teute of the Twitter world - here's another one of her fantastic race-reports-in-140-characters:
Who said 68 (actually 75km) was easy? Raced in 1hr 40min. Started off with hard climb. Eye opener! Add some wind. Ouch. @yokoteute WINS!!!
The big climb at the start meant that riders whose legs hadn't quite recovered from yesterday had something to, erm "loosen them up"! Noemi Cantele (Garmin-Cervélo), Claudia Häusler (Diadora-Pasta Zara) and Valentina Carretta (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) attacked on the climb to take the mountains points between them, but once it flattened out, were soon caught.
There were a lot of little attacks, including one by Café favourite Marijn de Vries, who gained 15 seconds, but HTC-Highroad were in control of the race, making sure no one got too far ahead, ensuring that it came to a bunch sprint. And who can blame them! With their superb train of time triallists and sprinters, leading the queen-sprinter herself, Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, it was just right for them! They rode a perfect race, and Teute showed everyone how it's done, winning with ease, beating current road World Champion, Giorgia Bronzini, into second place.
1. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Colavita Forno d'Asolo, s.t.
3. Monia Baccaille (Ita) MCipollini-Giambenini, s.t.
4. Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products UCK
5. Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
6. Martine Bras (Ned) Dolmans Landscaping
7. Rasa Lelievyte (Ltu) Vaiano-Solaristech
8. Lucy Martin (GBr) Garmin-Cervélo
9. Trixi Worrack (Ger) AA Drink-Leontien.nl
10. Marianne Vos (Ned) Nederland Bloeit
The full stage results are up on the Giro website - there's no change to the GC, so Vos still leads that, as well as the points (1 point ahead of Teute!) - and is in joint first place with Pooley on the mountains competition. Rasa Leleivyte still leads the young rider competition.
Here's Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, speaking (in English) about how the stage played out, and what she thinks of tomorrow's stage - video by Cicloweb
And here's Cicloweb's video from the finish-line -
And some great video of the atmosphere at the sign-on, start- and finish-line:
And how better to end, than with a fab tweet from Amber Pierce. Happy 4th of July, American friends!
It's the Giro, so today's flat stage naturally began with a mountain. And there were fireworks...in my legs. Happy 4th America.