Team Columbia has dominated the European women's events this season, and this week's Giro della Toscana - Memorial Michela Fanini was no different. German Judith Arndt, the winner of the UCI World Cup as well as the Tour of Montreal, Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Thüringen Rundfahrt added another title to her palmarés on Sunday.
The final stage, won by Swiss rider Monica Holler (Bigla), was one of just two stages not won by Team Columbia. After winning the team time trial, Columbia yielded to Dutch rider Marianne Vos (DSB Bank) on stage 2a before taking four consecutive stage victories: first with Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, then with diminutive climber Mara Abbott, followed by another Teutenberg win and one by Arndt herself for good measure.
Arndt took home the prize for the overall as well as for the first foreign rider."The last stage went perfectly," said team manager Petra Rossner. "There was a 13 rider break but none of them were dangerous overall, so Judith didn't have to do anything and the rest of the team did everything to bring her to the line. The most dangerous rider overall in the break was five or six minutes back, so we kept things steady and under control."
With the World Championships looming, Rossner admitted that riding the entire Giro della Toscana "may not be ideal for the World Championships time trial, but for the road-race, it's the perfect distance."
Rossner reflected on a highly successful season for Team Columbia, counting out 64 wins in 110 days of racing. "I think what's made the difference is the way we work as a team. Individually we're maybe not so much stronger than any other riders. But the chemistry in this squad, the way we interact and the conditions that we can work in: they are all really something special. It brings us all up to another level."