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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Sunday, July 10, 2016

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News Flash:

Halfway through the 2016 Tour de France's ninth stage, Alberto Contador has abandoned. He awoke with a fever and had trouble on the first climb.

Alberto Contador abanons the 2016 Tour de France

Earlier, Tinkoff's sport director Sean Yates had said from his team car: “Alberto [Contador] had a bit of fever this morning. He told us at the beginning of the race that he wasn't feeling super and it's obvious. We've told him to stay quiet. Now the peloton is going slower, which is better for his recovery after the fast start this morning.”

Tour de France stage eight team news

Christopher Froome executed a brilliant coup near the end of the Tour's eighth stage. At the crest of the day's final ascent, he attacked and went hell-bent-for-leather down the Peyresourde to the finish, to win both the stage and the yellow jersey.

And here's David L. Stanley's assessment of the Tour's first week

Here's Team Sky's stage eight report:

The Team Sky rider launched an audacious attack over the top of the Col de Peyresourde and quickly opened up a gap to his rivals on the rapid descent into Bagneres-de-Luchon.

Pedalling hard in an aerodynamic position on his top tube, Froome was able to surge across the line 13 seconds ahead of an elite chasing pack to move into the lead of the race.

Chris Froome

Froome wins stage eight

Now holding a 16-second advantage over compatriot Adam Yates (Orica-BikeExchange), Froome benefitted from the tireless work of his Team Sky teammates over four brutal Pyrenean climbs.

After controlling the tempo for much of the day, the real action began towards the summit of the Peyresourde, with Froome and Sergio Henao among the big names to up the pace and attack one another.

Froome caught all his rivals by surprise as he threw caution to the wind and attacked over the top. On the winning move he explained: "It was just a bit of fun really. I thought I'd give it a try - I had one or two goes on the climb and nothing was really sticking.

"I thought over the top let me just give it a go and see what I can do on the descent - I'll see if I can catch someone out. It was real old school bike racing! Maybe a spent a little bit too much (energy). Let's see, tomorrow is going to be a really hard day. 16 seconds is not a huge margin but I'll take every second I can at this point.

"It's just a really good feeling. The guys rode all day today so I felt like I owed something to them to really give it my all for the stage."

Part two of the Tour's trip into the Pyrenees, Team Sky set about controlling the 184km stage with a concerted team effort. Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe worked hard early during a rapid first hour. It took a long time for the break to form and it was Wout Poels who was tasked with following moves on the early slopes of the Col du Tourmalet.

The yellow jersey was expected to change hands in the heat and so it proved, with overnight leader Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) slipping back. After Vasil Kiryienka had pulled off Team Sky continued with a core of six riders on the front, gradually pulling back the advantage of a strong three-man move out front.
Mikel Landa put in a mammoth stint over two climbs before handing over to Mikel Nieve and Geraint Thomas on the Col de Val Louron-Azet. The peloton slimmed down to barely 25 riders on the final climb, and with 18km to go Henao began a chain reaction with a huge upping of the pace.

Froome, Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde (both Movistar) and Roman Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) all took turns to accelerate, but over the first category climb it was Froome who led and, not satisfied just to take maximum points, proceeded to drive home his advantage.

"It really was just a spur of the moment reaction going over the top," Froome added. "I felt like a kid again out there, just trying to race my bike as fast as I could. I didn't take a massive gap but I'm in yellow this evening. It's a huge surprise and it's an amazing feeling.

"Looking ahead we do have some really hard mountain-top finishes to come and I imagine those are going to be a lot more selective."

Dan Martin of Etixx-Quick Step was second today. Here's his team's update:

Four climbs were on the menu of stage 8, the tough course and hot temperatures leading to a shake-up of the general classification.

The second act of the Pyrenees got underway Saturday at noon, when stage 8 (Pau – Bagnères-de-Luchon, 184 kilometers) had to wait until the second hour for a break to take shape. The day was dubbed by everyone as being one of the most complicated in the entire race, as four categorized climbs standed between the riders and the finish in the Haute-Garonne department, and maybe for that reason there weren't many men willing to attack. The hard route, blazing start, scorching heat and melting tarmac didn't scare Tony Martin, who surged clear from the pack on the iconic Col du Tourmalet, leaving in pursuit of Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), the two leaders at that moment.

Dan martin

Dan Martin leads the chasers across the line

Tony – who went in the escape for the second day in a row – showed that his condition and motivation are high, and even though he was distanced before the top of Tourmalet, it didn't took him too much to gain ground and rejoin the leading duo before Horquette d'Ancizan. The trio wasn't allowed by the bunch to take more than three minutes, but even so managed to remain up the road until Col de Val Louron-Azet, a climb which made its Tour de France debut in 1997.

On the toughest section of that ascent, Team Sky pushed a fierce pace which shredded the peloton, only 20-25 riders making it over the top. Then, on the final hurdle of the day – Col de Peyresourde (7.1 kilometers, 7.8% average gradient) – as the group was coming closer and closer to the summit, Dan Martin and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) tested the others, their action prompting an immediate response. Just as everybody was preparing for the descent leading to Bagnères-de-Luchon, one of the Tour de France's favourite locations, Chris Froome (Team Sky) powered away, quickly building a 20-second advantage, which helped him take the win and the yellow jersey.

From the chasing group, which crossed the line 13 seconds later, Daniel Martin patiently waited for the final 200 meters to kick off his sprint, thanks to which he finished runner-up on the stage, the most testing of the opening week, with a total of 4 350 meters of climbing. The result he got Saturday, on a day which saw many GC riders lose a significant amount of time, helped the 29-year-old Irishman jump five places in the overall rankings, as he now sits in 4th position, trailing the new leader of the race for just 17 seconds.

Etixx – Quick-Step was close on nabbing its second stage victory at the 103rd Tour de France, missing out on it for just a handful of seconds in Bagnères-de-Luchon, but despite not getting the win which he was looking for, Dan kept his optimism and confidence, which are at an even higher level now after the solid and impressive ride he put in the Pyrenees: "There's no easy day at the Tour de France and we saw that again today. I knew I had good legs at the start, I was feeling good after yesterday and was really comfortable.

"Julian gave everything to help me on the first climb, so chapeau to him. I remained calm at all times and was well-positioned on a day which saw everybody test each other. When Chris attacked and took a handful of seconds, we chased but couldn't bring him back. What it matters is that I am in fine form, a reward of the hard training I've done on the climbs before the Tour. I am happy with the way things are going for me in the GC, and hopefully a win is just around the corner."

"By far, this was the most punishing day since the start of the race, a brutal combo of difficult climbs and hot temperatures. On the Tourmalet, when Pinot and Majka went, I jumped after them and used my time trial skills to make contact. As we were approaching the top, they dropped me, but I made sure of rejoining them in the valley. Tactically, it was perfect for the team to have a man at the front, only downside being that the peloton didn't give us too much room. Once I was caught, I tried to help Dan, but couldn't do it because I was empty and really suffering. Considering everything, I am satisfied and I am keen on trying again in the following stages", said Tony Martin, the German powerhouse who is also eyeing the first individual time trial of the Tour de France, scheduled next week.

Adam Yates of Orica-BikeExchange held on to second place in the GC. This is what his team had to say about the day:

An incredible ride by 23-year old Adam Yates on stage eight of the Tour de France today, saw the ORICA-BikeExchange rider hold onto his lead in the best young rider category and second place on the general classification.

The epic mountain stage included the legendary Col du Tourmalet and the Col de Peyresourde unfolded over 184 kilometres with the fantastic Yates following every attack at every key moment.

Christopher Froome (Team-Sky) won the stage and moved into the race lead with Yates finishing in 7th place thirteen seconds behind Froome and remaining in second place overall.

Adam Yates

Adam Yates will start stage 9 in white

“It was full gas from start to finish today,” said Yates at the end of the stage. “The team did a great job of looking after me until the first climb started and from then on there were no easy moments. There weren’t any opportunities to have a rest and recover a little because it was so full on. I am pretty tired now but we have another big day in the mountains coming up tomorrow so we will see what we can do.”

Yates leads Louis Meintjes (Lampre-Merida) by eighteen seconds in the best young rider category going into tomorrow’s stage nine.

Sport director Matt White was content with the how the team handled the first big mountain test of this years Tour de France. “Today was the first big challenging stage in the Pyrenees,” said White. “It was the first real test today and I liked what I saw from Adam (Yates) who worked hard and showed the kind of condition he is in.”

“All the guys rode well in the beginning on what was a fast start to the stage and then as we hit the climbs Adam really performed very well against the best climbers and grand tour riders in the world. We are still chasing stage wins, that has always been our objective for this year’s Tour de France,” said White. “Of course it’s nice to have Adam in the White jersey but we will continue to approach the race day by day.”

“Tomorrow’s stage is a different kind of hard to today, it could very well be a day for the breakaway. The climbing starts right at the beginning, but there are more valleys whereas today was simply relentless.”

How it happened: Today’s mountainous stage eight got underway under blazing sunshine in the French Pyrenees with attacks springing immediately out of the neutral zone.

The attentive peloton were not allowing any move to go clear until they were well and truly happy satisfied with the situation, after 25kilometres the race was still together A fast first hour of racing saw the peloton cover 51kilometres as they raced towards the start of the day’s first climb, the Col du Tourmalet.

Thirteen riders managed to gain 30 seconds on the peloton at the start of the Tourmalet, the group included Michael Matthews and a few kilometres later he swept up the first sprint points on offer. The group broke up soon after when Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff) went clear as the gradients of the infamous climb ramped up.

Splits were forming throughout the field with Yates in the group of overall favourites at the head of the peloton and race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) both among those losing contact.

As Pinot and Majka crested the summit of the Tourmalet they had two minutes 35seconds on the bunch with two smaller groups further back. Movistar and Team-Sky were leading the chase down the descent and on towards the next climb, the Horquette d’Ancizan with 80kilometres to go.

The Yates/favourites group continued to thin out due to the injections of speed from Team-Sky on the Ancizan climb and further reducing the gap to the leaders.

With 42 kilometres left to race only 35seconds separated the favourites and Majka who was now pushing on alone. Less than a kilometre later and Majka was also absorbed as Movistar and Team-Sky continued to set the Tempo. The Yates group skipped onto the fast and technical descent of the Col de Val Louron around ten minutes ahead of the yellow jersey of Van Avermaet and the final climb, the iconic Col de Peyresourde up next.

Seven kilometres with an average gradient of 7.8% and reports of the tarmac melting in the heat, the challenging Peyresourde provided the platform for the first battles between the overall contenders to begin in earnest. Sergio Henao (Team-Sky) was the first to accelerate but only succeeded in splitting the group momentarily. Froome followed the action with another burst of speed and this time the gap formed.

Thirteen riders broke clear including Yates and the ORICA-BikeExchange rider rode excepetionally, matching every attack that followed all the way to the summit. As the group crested the Peyresourde Froome launched a surprise attack into the descent, immediately gaining a slight advantage the Sky rider held twelve seconds going into the final ten kilometres.

An intense chase followed with Froome at 20 seconds going into the final two kilometres. The Sky Rider sped through the last pair of corners to take the stage victory and the race lead, Yates crossed the line in 7th place only thirteen seconds behind Froome.

Tomorrow is the third consecutive day in the Pyrenees and covers 184.5 kilometres from Viehla Val d’Aran to Andorre Arcalis. Five categorised climbs dotted with long sweeping descents through the valleys the Hors category Climb up to Andorre Arcalis is the first real summit finish of this year's Tour de France.

Tinkoff's Rafal Majka leads the climbing classification now. The team sent me this:

The Col du Tourmalet – the first of today’s climbs – showed the riders of the Tour de France that they had truly arrived in the big mountains. While the going was tough and the pace high, Rafal Majka showed that his strong ride in the Giro d’Italia had prepared him well for the mountains of the Tour, as he picked up points in the climbers contest to claim the Maillot à Pois.

Four incredibly tough categorised climbs, the Souvenir Jacques Goddet, and a 184km stage that more closely resembled a saw than a road stage – the Tour de France was welcomed to the Pyrenees with the hardest stage of the race so far. While much of the attention would be on the Col du Tourmalet – and rightly so – the remaining three climbs of the day were going to play a huge role in deciding how the GC race was going to play out in the remaining weeks of the Tour.

Rafal Majka

Rafal Majka has the dots for now.

Summiting at the 86km point, the Col du Tourmalet was the race’s first Hors Catégorie climb. The legendary ascent of the Tour de France came perhaps too early on to make an impact on the outcome of the stage, but this 19km climb would take huge amounts of energy out of the riders, with another three climbs to follow. The last climb of the day – the first category Col de Peyresourde – took the race up a 7.1km ascent with an average gradient of 7.8% - steeper than the Tourmalet. Rather than a summit finish, the race would then descend the other side of the Peyresourde to the finish in Bagnères-de-Luchon. This was where the decisive move was likely to come.

In the early stages of the day, there were still chances for the fast men to pick up points in the green jersey contest, meaning Peter Sagan was keen to head up the road on what was to be a hard day in the saddle, as Sport Director, Sean Yates, explained. “It was a very tough day, a really fast start with breakaway attempts before the first sprint and then the break went only a few kilometres before the sprint, so after over 60km of racing. Peter picked up the points in the peloton behind so that was good for the green jersey.”

With the start of the Col du Tourmalet 50km from the start of the stage, it took some time for the attacks to come, and the blistering pace in the first hour made it hard to escape. A few came and went, but were quickly pulled back in, and it wasn’t until near the foot of the first climb of the day that an attack went – and stuck. Having taken the Souvenir Jacques Goddet on the Tourmalet last year, Rafal Majka knew the climb well and joined the break in an attempt to take the prize two years in a row. Even with the break disintegrating around him, Rafal surged up the road, taking a second and later a third rider with him. In spite of putting in a strong ride and matching his rivals on the climb for speed and attacking prowess, the Polish national road champion was just beaten to the top.

Talking about his time in the break, Rafal was pleased to spend most of his day in the escape. “In the end I could see there were only two guys in front, and I asked the DS if I should go. I think it’s better that I went – I don’t feel so good right now and being off the front there’s less pressure than being in the peloton. My condition is still coming and maybe after the rest day I’ll be stronger.”

It was a hot day in the Pyrenees, and this was going to make racing even tougher. The four mountains crossed were hard enough without the intense heat of the mountains further sapping energy reserves, but in spite of this, Rafal and his companions managed to maintain their 1’30” gap on the bunch as the day went on, and as the Yellow Jersey was distanced as the day went on, it was clear there was to be a new race leader. With the pace in the bunch high, it seemed likely the trio would be caught before the final climb of the day, and in spite of Rafal’s best efforts to go it alone, his break was slowly reeled in.

After a hard day in the break, taking points on three of the four climbs, Rafal was still building form after his strong Giro campaign. “My form’s getting better but still it’s tough on the road. I went in the breakaway and I’d hoped to stay out until the end, but behind us the peloton was going really fast and they caught us. I stayed for one more climb but I was really tired. I wanted to help Alberto but wasn’t able to.”

Pushing ahead to try and take the points on the Col de Val Louron-Azet, Rafal found his way blocked by Team Sky, preventing him from gaining the maximum points. In spite of this, having spent much of the day on the front of the break however, Rafal had amassed enough points in the climbers’ competition to take the virtual Maillot à Pois. With only a descent and the Col de Peyresourde to come, this was where the race was going to hot up.

Fighting valiantly, Alberto Contador was distanced slightly on the ascent, but on the major climbs of the day when his rivals were being dropped, Alberto was still there - so with a fast descent to the finish after the summit, there were opportunities to pull back any gaps. After an attack came on the summit, Roman Kreuziger pushed on to keep the escape and the bunch in touch, finishing the stage in 5th position, with Alberto crossing the line shortly afterwards in 17th position. After his stellar performance on the climbs of the day, Rafal took the polka dot jersey for his strong ride in the climbers’ contest.

From the finish, Rafa was pleased to be leading the King of the Mountains race, but after a hard season so far knew it would be tough to defend it. “I’m glad to be in the polka dot jersey but it’s only one point between me and the second place. I’ll have the jersey for a day maybe – I’ve already done the Giro this year so it’s tough.”

It was a tough day all round – and the fast, driving pace in the peloton suggested to Yates that some of the teams had their intentions for the stage. “On the Tourmalet, Rafa jumped away with a few others, but Sky rode a solid tempo behind and kept the gap around 2'30" so we knew they were setting something up. They were caught on the penultimate climb, and with the catch coming early we knew to expecting a hard last climb. In the end Alberto lost time but Roman was there and Rafa came away with the Polka Dot jersey.”

Starting the day, Alberto knew how much of a challenge the Pyrenees would be, even for uninjured riders. With much of the race still to come, the Tinkoff leader would review his performance with the team and look ahead to the days to come. “It was a very hard and demanding stage with a strong pace and I was aware it would be complicated. It was what it was and we now have to analyse the situation and see how we move forward.”

Continuing, Yates said there were many positives to take from the day. “From Alberto's point of view it was more time lost which isn't what we wanted, but otherwise we did all we could - we fought for the breakaway, Peter picked up some more points and we have Rafa in the KoM jersey. Tomorrow is another super tough day and there are a lot of KoM points on offer. Rafa is starting to feel better and he isn't a threat to GC so he shouldn't be one to chase down, so we'll see what we can do there.”

Rafa supplemented his Sport Director’s comments. “Of course it’s going to be difficult – Alberto is still suffering after his crash so we’ll see how he improves – hopefully he’ll get better as the Tour goes on.”

Starting in the Spanish Pyrenees before moving into Andorra for the finish, tomorrow’s 184.5km stage starts climbing from the drop of the flag, with the first category Port de la Bonaigua rising up the 13.7km from the start in Vielha Val d'Aran. Four more climbs await, with the final one being the Hors Catégorie summit finish into Arcalis. The penultimate two climbs could be excellent launch pads for attacks – two steep ramps where an explosive attack could yet change the shape of the GC.

And BMC sent me this Tour update:

9 July, 2016, Bayneres-de-Luchon (FRA): BMC Racing Team's General classification duo, Richie Porte and Tejay van Garderen, had a solid first hit out in the mountains on stage 8 of the Tour de France to finish 10th and 12th respectively.

The 182km stage saw the General Classification contenders battle it out over four category climbs including the famous Col du Tourmalet, shaking up the General Classification going into stage 9.

It all came down to the final climb where Chris Froome (Team SKY) attacked on the descent and held on to the take the solo win and overall lead. Porte and van Garderen pulled from behind to cross the line 13 seconds behind Froome.

After three days with the leader's yellow jersey Greg Van Avermaet conceded his lead as he predicted prior to the stage start. Van Garderen has moved up to eighth place on the General Classification, 23 seconds behind Froome, and Richie Porte in 18th place, 2'08" behind. 

Stage 9 is billed as one of the toughest days of the Tour de France with five category climbs on the cards.

Greg Van Avermaet: "It was a really hard day. I was hoping the break would go away before the Tourmalet but it didn't happen and it was one of those days when you're going to go full gas all day. I had a bike change on the Tourmalet so I was dropped a little bit there. I just tried to find a good tempo but I knew the race was over because when the really good climbers go, it's impossible to keep them at five minutes. It was a good day and I'm happy that I could ride another day in yellow today."

"It's a special feeling to be in the yellow jersey. I think for my type of rider it's pretty hard to get yellow at all so to have it for three days is really nice. A lot of people were supporting me so it was really special every day."

Richie Porte: "Froome just got the gap and Quintana didn't want to chase. Tejay and I were told on the radio to pull together and try and bring Froome back as much as we could. But even by that stage he was out of sight and out of mind. I had a good day. It's a shame we didn't finish on the top, that would have been a little more interesting, but it was a good day."

"On the back of the last two days, tomorrow is possibly going to be the hardest stage of the Tour. If Tejay and I are up there, and Froome or Quintana are isolated, we'll see what we can do. Tejay and I are both still up there and it was a pretty select group who was sprinting today. Damiano Caruso has been incredible. He's always there, he's dependable, he's really becoming a crucial part of our team. He's just fantastic to have there."

Richie Porte

Richie Porte heading down the Peyresourde

Tejay van Garderen: "The final climb started with Team SKY just making their usual tempo and I think it was Valverde who opened up the attacks. It was just kind of bang, bang. It looked like it was all together over the top but then Froome put in one last sneak attack right at the top and I was thinking that it was a long way to go downhill and that it was a bold move. But you can never underestimate Froome, you give him an inch and he'll take a mile."

"Caruso is really strong; the whole BMC Racing Team is working really well together. Guys like Michi Schär are surviving over the top of the Tourmalet, so that's pretty impressive. I think me and Richie are going to be right up there in all of the mountains to come. I think we're going to have a good domestique there with Caruso to help us."

LottoNL-Jumbo had this to say about stage 7:

Wilco Kelderman crashed during the eighth stage of the Tour de France today. His tube came loose from his wheel on the descent of the Col de Val Louron-Azet and he slipped away. He and George Bennett were able to return in the front before the Col de Peyresourde, but Kelderman lost 1 minute and 45 seconds afterwards.

Chris Froome (Team Sky) won the stage and grabbed the yellow jersey.

The tough stage through the Pyrenees to Bagnères-de-Luchon ran quite smoothly for Team LottoNL-Jumbo. Kelderman and Bennett were able to maintain their positions among the overall favourites ahead of the final climb.

Wilco Kelderman

Wilco Kelderman bearing the effects of his crash

“Today, it was my turn for the first time,” Bennett said. “I didn’t enjoy the first week of the Tour de France, because it wasn’t quite my terrain, so I was looking forward to today. I’m happy with how it went and I’m happy with my form.”

The tables turned on the penultimate descent of the stage, when Kelderman crashed. “We’re riding on very small climbing wheels,” Bennett continued. “It looked like Wilco’s wheels were so hot that his tube loosened. The glue was totally melted and I burned my hands on it when I grabbed the wheel.”

“It was hot today and you have to brake on a lot during the descents,” Kelderman said. “The glue on your tyre gets very hot and there’s a chance that it gets loose. I’m fed up that it happened to me. Everything went very well until that moment. I didn’t lose too much time, but I have a lot of abrasions. This is very annoying.”

“The last thing we want is a crash,” Sports Director Merijn Zeeman added. “This is a big setback.

Before Wilco’s crash, everything seemed to go very well. George Bennett was with him and helped him a lot. We were already thinking about the final climb. This is frustrating.”

Tour of Poland starts Tuesday, the 12th

Here's BMC's Tour of Poland release:

9 July 2016, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Manuel Quinziato and Philippe Gilbert will line up for the first time as newly crowned Italian and Belgian national champions when BMC Racing Team heads to the Tour of Poland next week.

A strong squad with multiple options is heading to Poland said BMC Racing Team Sports Director Max Sciandri. "We are heading to the Tour of Poland with a motivated and ambitious team. All the guys are capable of delivering results so we are not going into the race with a specific team leader. It will be a case of seeing how the race unfolds particularly with the time trial on the final day.

Quinziato and Gilbert are looking forward to representing their respective home countries and BMC Racing Team in Poland. "I am really looking forward to racing in Poland especially with the last stage being a time trial. It will be my first chance to wear my Italian Time Trial champion's kit and it will be filled with big emotions. I have raced at the Tour of Poland on two occasions, it is a good race and the whole team is motivated to bring home some good results," said Quinziato.

"For me, the Tour of Poland is a very important race. It's a WorldTour race and that means that the level will be high but I am feeling good right now, especially after my win at the Belgian National Championships. I believe that I will be able to go out and ride for good results and it will also be an opportunity for me to show the form I have ahead of the Olympics," Gilbert added.

Rider roster: Alessandro De Marchi (ITA), Floris Gerts (NED), Philippe Gilbert (BEL), Ben Hermans (BEL), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Peter Velits (SVK), Loïc Vliegen (BEL), Danilo Wyss (SUI)

Sports Directors: Max Sciandri (ITA), Marco Pinotti (ITA)

Giro Rosa report from the race organizer:


Bronzini - Bastianelli - Confalonieri: the "Tricolore" flag shines at the finish line in Legnano, at the end of a frightening stage.

The 97.550 km of the stage started in Rescaldina were mostly on the roads of the Coppa Bernocchi were run at high speed, with a breakaway that included Alena Amialiusik (Canyon-SRAM), Anna Ceoloni (Servetto-Footon-Alurecycling), Rozanne Slik (Liv-Plantur), Audrey Cordon (Wiggle High5), Malgorzata Jasinska (Alè-Cipollini), Lex Albrecht (BePink) and Ana Maria Covrig (Inpa-Bianchi), with the National Champion of Romania who passed first on the climb of Gornate Superiore (Category 3).

In the second part, the peloton tried to accelerate, but the attacks continued in the front: Amialiusik and Covrig remained alone but Ceoloni joined them again with Slik close to the passage at the finish line in Legnano. Ana Covrig didn't give up and attacked at the last kilometer, the peloton was just behind her and in the bunch sprint Giorgia Bronzini has been the fastest, beating other two italians, Marta Bastianelli (Alè-Cipollini) and Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata), who was second in the sprint in Lovere.

Megan Guarnier

Megan Guarnier at last year's Giro Rosa.

Nothing changes in the General Classification: Megan Guarnier remains in Pink with only one stage to go: her advantage is 34'' from her teammate Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans) and 1'53'' from Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)

Giorgia Bronzini: "This victory is important because the National Coach Dino Salvoldi called me to be part of our team at the Olympic Games in Rio. This event will demonstrate that the Italian Women National Cycling Team will completely honour the National Jersey.


1. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5)                                    2:28'48''
2. Marta Bastianelli (Alè Cipollini-Parmigiano Reggiano)            st
3. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata)                      st


1. Megan Guarnier (Boels Dolmans)                                19:56'19''
2. Evelyn Stevens (Boels Dolmans)                                       +34''
3. Anna Van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv)                                     +1'53''


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