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Giro d'Italia Femminile - 2.1 (W)
Italy, July 6-15, 2007
Stage 5 - July 11: Cittiglio - Cittiglio, 103.4 km
Brandli solos to victory
By Kirsten Robbins
As a two-time winner of the Giro, all eyes should have been on Swiss climber Nicole Brandli (Bigla) when she stormed away from a select group of general classification riders on today's final climb. Brandli flew through a break away of four and soloed to her first stage victory of this year's race, with her victory catapulting her up to second place. Italy's Marta Bastianelli (Safi Pasta) was the only other rider to get free of the breakaway, shooting through to take second from World Champion Marianne Vos (Team DSB Bank), who won the bunch sprint for third.
Edita Pucinskaite (Equipe Nurnberger) held on to her magila rosa but is now followed by Brandli just eighteen second back. Brandli's rise up the order bumps Maribel Moreno Allue (Spanish National Team) back to third place on GC.
How it unfolded
The tough climbs commenced on today's Stage 5, from Cittiglio-Cittiglio. The stage required riders to climb Brinzio, a monumental mountain dedicated to all of the cyclists who have died from the Provincia de Varese, twice. If Brinzio was not enough, there was more to come as the riders took a third but smaller lap that finished over the top of Arcumeggia, a five and half kilometer climb followed by a steep descent.
Allison Powers (Colavita/Sutter Home) and Jennifer Hohl (Team Bigla) started a breakaway that would last upwards of 50 kilometers early on. The two riders broke away after the first climb over Brinzio and continued increase the gap over the peloton with each kilometre that passed.
The field was active in trying to bridge to the pair, but not even a chase group of 11 could catch them and thus were reeled back in by the peloton. A second group of seven riders successfully bridge up to the two before they hit the final climb over Arcumeggia, but only four, Kim Anderson (T-Mobile), Charlotte Becker (Nurnberger), Luisa Tamanini (Safi-Pasta) and her teammate Marta Bastianelli, of the now nine-rider break entered the last climb together.
A select group of 13 climbers, including the top 10 placed riders on GC, charged over Arcumeggia in pursuit of the four escapees. Brandli attacked her 12 rivals, and caught the remains of the earlier break on the descent into the finish.
Rochelle Gilmore (Team Menikini-Selle Italia) placed second on yesterday's Stage 4 and was pleased with her team's performance with team leader Fabiana Luperini's pursuit of the overall. Gilmore regarded Brandli's move as perfect timing and almost predictable of such a talented climber. "We are a little confused as well as other teams at the outcome of today's stage," Gilmore admitted. "Obviously Nicole Brandli is a very strong rider and one to watch out for. Fabiana is in good form and had good legs to go with her today but it wasn't our team's responsibility to chase Brandli. It was more of Edita's responsibility to chase but when she didn't and the riders sort of looked at each other. It might have been a tactical mistake for them [Nurnberger] and for us, by the time Fabiana tried to get to her it was too late."
When the terrain flattened out the Safi-Pasta duo of Tamanini and Bastianelli worked together to catch up the Brandli before the finale, but Tamanini was swallowed by the charging group from behind while Bastianelli found herself caught between the solo winner and the chase group.
Marianne Vos (Team DSB Bank) continues to lead the points classification, while Svetlana Bubnekova (Fenixs) has taken the lead in the mountains after a stiff battle between the climbers. The best young rider jersey has switched from Nurnberger to T-Mobile's Linda Villumsen Serup.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
Images by Davide Tricarico/www.ladiescycling.net
Images by Nicola Ianuale/www.photoianuale.com
1 Nicole Brandli (Swi) Team Bigla 2.50.59 (36.670 kph) 2 Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan 0.46 3 Marianne Vos (Ned) Team DSB Bank 0.52 4 Monia Baccaille (Ita) Saccarelli Emu Sea 5 Grete Treier (Ger) Michela Fanini Record Rox 6 Judith Arndt (Ger) T Mobile Women 7 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Fenixs Hpb Edilsavino 8 Julia Martisova (Rus) Team Frw Gauss Rdz 9 Noemi Cantele (Ita) Team Bigla 10 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team Flexpoint General classification after stage 5 1 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Nurnberger Versicherung 13.49.05 2 Nicole Brandli (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team 0.18 3 Maribel Moreno Allue (Spa) Selection Nationale Espanola 0.28 3 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Menikini Selle Italia Gysko 0.52 4 Susanne Ljungskog (Swe) Team Flexpoint 1.05 6 Judith Arndt (Ger) T Mobile Women 1.28 7 Linda Villumsen Serup (Den) T Mobile Women 2.04 8 Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) AA Drink Cycling Team 2.23 9 Marianne Vos (Ned) Team DSB Bank 2.45 10 Grete Treier (Ger) Michela Fanini Record Rox 3.06 Points classification 1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Team DSB Bank 36 pts 2 Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan 25 3 Grete Treier (Ger) Michela Fanini Record Rox 23 4 Nicole Brandli (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team 21 5 Regina Schleicher (Ger) Nurnberger Versicherung 20 Mountains classification 1 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Fenixs Hpb Edilsavino 28 pts 2 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Nurnberger Versicherung 24 3 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Menikini Selle Italia Gysko 23 4 Luisa Tamanini (Ita) Safi Pasta Zara Manhattan 15 5 Kimberly Anderson (USA) T Mobile Women 12 Best young rider classification 1 Linda Villumsen Serup (Den) T Mobile Team 13.51.09