Bronzini: I'm going to retire when I feel like it

Italian looking for sprint opportunities in California's Amgen women's race

Giorgia Bronzini finished safely in the middle of the peloton, a minute down the leaders, at the first stage of the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women's Race empowered with SRAM. Bronzini and her Wiggle High5 team came to the Amgen Women's Race with a small group of four riders and lost one early in the first stage.

On Friday, Bronzini finished the race over 8 minutes behind the leaders. When asked about her ambitions the two-time road race world champion admitted she was more focused on the flat sprint stages, and letting her teammates take opportunistic chances.

"Ah well, survive in the first two stages, and we'll see in stage 3 and 4 if we can get some result," Bronzini said. "We are not a big team here, so we do not have a lot of expectations against full teams on board. We are going to figure it out ourselves if the girls riding with me have the possibility to show themselves in the race. It is important to give to the mates a way to try and have the best chance for themselves."

Bronzini is familiar with the challenges of racing on both sides of the Atlantic, but she enjoys the atmosphere and has experienced considerable success in North America. She won the Liberty Classic three times and a handful of races in Canada including the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau. Though Bronzini has not made many recent trips to the US other than Worlds in 2015, she remains an enthusiastic supporter growing the UCI Women's WorldTour outside of Europe.

"I think it is cool that every country is showing interest for growing women's cycling," Bronzini said. "It is an honour for us to come over to America. I wish the team had more plans to be here so maybe next season the team is going to have more fun in the USA."

Bronzini has expressed a lot of passion for the growth of the Women's WorldTour and its ongoing expansion. That is not to say does not have suggestions for the UCI. Bronzini says the Women's WorldTour should work to ensure smaller teams and races can maintain a place in the ecosystem. Bronzini feels they play an important part in developing women's racing.

"If they are going to throw some smaller teams into some bigger races they are never going to grow up, and they just kill themselves," Bronzini said. "I hope the middle races can be on the page for next season like for example Route de France and Trophee d'Or now are cancelled. I hope they will be back."

Bronzini spent most of her 2016 season chasing a spot on the Italian Olympic team. She was successful but the season was devoid of the usual joy she derives from racing. Bronzini had initially planned to retire at the end of 2016 to end her career on a high note. She changed her mind after reflecting on the experience and getting sidelined by a late-season illness which kept her out of the world championships.

"It was a really heavy year last year for the Olympic selection," Bronzini said. "I would like to choose the date when I'm going to stop the career when I feel like and not when someone put me in the corner. I want to finish the career with happiness and have a good feeling on the bike still. Last year I had a bit losing this because with the stress you can't enjoy it a lot."

And that pending retirement?

"I'm not going to say anything about my retirement," Bronzini said. "I'm going to decide when I feel like."

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