Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) admitted that she opened her sprint too late in the final stage of the Ladies Tour of Qatar, which finished in Doha on Friday. The world champion was beaten into second place by her compatriot Monia Baccaille (MCipollini-Giordana) after a finale that saw a number of teams do battle to set up their sprinters.
"There were a lot of different sprint trains and teams up there," Bronzini told Cyclingnews immediately after the finish. "My teammates kept me up front until the end but we had to switch a lot of times on the run-in and then in the finale maybe I went too late given my characteristics, but so be it."
It was Bronzini's second near miss of the race. On stage one to Dukhan, she narrowly lost out to Rochelle Gilmore (Lotto-Honda) in the finishing sprint, while on day two, her Italian team was unable to stop HTC-Highroad's echelon from delivering a stage and the overall victory to Ellen Van Dijk.
Bronzini won two stages in the inaugural Tour of Qatar in 2009 and followed up with another stage victory 12 months ago. While she was disappointed not to add to her palmares this time around, the Piacenza-born rider was still relatively pleased with her showing in Qatar.
"It went better for me the other years but I can't complain as I'm only at 60 or 70 percent of my form, so I couldn't look for any more than that," Bronzini said.
Bronzini also confessed that she is still getting used to wearing the rainbow jersey but was glad to have started her campaign.
"It's an extra weight on my shoulders," she said. "But I'm hoping that race by race, stage by stage, I can start getting used to it."
As well as being a world champion on the road, Bronzini also captured a rainbow jersey on the track in 2009, when she won the points race. In 2011, she will once again seek to balance her road and track ambitions.
"My next objective is the world track championships in March," she said. "Afterward I'll start my road season in earnest."