Bronzini hopes Euskal Emakumeen stage win boosts Olympic chances

Italian says stage win proves she can sprint after a day of climbing

Two-time world champion Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle High5) said her stage win on Saturday during the hilly 105km third stage of Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira shows that she would be a worthy choice for Italy’s team at the upcoming Olympics in Rio.

“I’m trying to be selected for the Olympic Games,” Bronzini said. “So for sure I need to show that I can be able to climb and not lose my sprint, so I’m happy for that.”

Swedish Champion and overall race leader Emma Johansson led Bronzini through the final two corners as the Italian beat Carmen Small (Cervélo-Bigla) Rossella Ratto (Cylance) to the line.

“It was a really, really amazing job from all the girls,” Bronzini said. “They did everything, and I was so, so happy because there was so much work on the day and then we had a win. I’m really proud.”

Wiggle High5 was forced to chase down an escape from Carol Ann Kanuel (Boels Dolmans), who was caught with just a few kilometres remaining.

‘“It was a hard day, and obviously we had the responsibility to keep the yellow,” Bronzini explained. “So on the first lap all the girls were in the front to keep a good speed and stop the other teams attacking. Then we also pulled until the first bonus sprint, and Emma took some seconds.

“Then there was the attack of [Canuel], and we let her have some space because she was back on the classification. On the third lap the girls went on the front to pull, and in the end the last rider to pull was Elisa with Emma; Emma came to me and asked me if I had the legs for a sprint, and I said ‘yeah!’

“Emma did the last part of the work - because after we caught [Canuel] there were lots of attacks that she and Elisa had to follow. Then Emma pulled me in the sprint in the last 500 metres; she took me to the last corner and I did my sprint.

“Being in this team is really good though, because sometimes you work, and sometimes it’s your time, and there’s always a chance to have your time. It was really nice to see the yellow jersey pull the sprint; it’s not every day you’re going to see that.”

The team’s focus will now turn back to preserving Johansson’s overall lead during Sunday’s final stage. With success in the day’s intermediate sprints, Johansson has extended her overall lead over Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans) to 25 seconds.

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