The Giro della Toscana Femminile stage race in Italy was decided on Sunday by seconds. Going into the stage all eyes were on Italian Noemi Cantele (Bigla Cycling Team) and German Judith Arndt of the T-Mobile squad. The two were separated by only five seconds in the overall and with the bonus seconds on the line it was not impossible for Arndt, who is a strong sprinter, to move back into the lead.
However, Cantele had also proven that she can stay at least close with Arndt and another win for Arndt followed by Cantele, like in stage five, would not have been enough, with a net gain of four seconds.
So T-Mobile instead used a different tactic that and sent seventh-placed Dutchwoman Chantal Beltman up the road, into a break that contained seven other riders. Beltman was 1'47" back at the beginning of the day and was leader on the road, with the Bigla Cycling Team in the defensive. Cantele fought back, though, and the break eventually managed to get only 1'43". Even the two-second bonus during the stage wasn't enough and in the end T-Mobile was second and third overall, with Beltman only two seconds from victory and Arndt still five seconds back.
But the win belonged to Cantele, who had shown a lot of grinta during the race and deservedly took the victory in this stage race that is also known as the Memorial Michela Fanini, named after the Italian who tragically died in a road accident in 1995.