Monday, July 6, 2009

GiroDonne, Stage 3

A tough mountain stage today saw Mara Abbott (Team Columbia-HTC) outsprint Emma Pooley at the end of the 106.4 Km stage for the stage victory. Emma Pooley's finish enabled her to take the pink jersey.

The stage began in Calcinaia a Prato and finished with a double ascent of the gruelling Monte Serra climb with a mountaintop finish. Monte Serra, at 917 m. in elevation, is the largest mountain in the Monti Pisani mountain chain.

The 23-year-old American was delighted about the victory. "It's really exciting. There are so many good riders on this team that even though I felt strong, it was difficult to imagine that I could actually be strong enough to go for the win," Abbott said afterwards.

Abbott initially broke away with Pooley on the first ascent of the 10-kilometre Monte Serra, but came off her bike on the downhill section of the climb. "The descent was very tricky because it had rained and I crashed, although fortunately I wasn't injured. Linda [Villumsen, Columbia-HTC teammate] guided me back up to the front group before we reached the Montesierra again.
"Almost as soon as we did, I got away again with Pooley. Then when [Pooley's teammate Claudia] Hausler got across, I attacked and managed to drop her, which left me and Pooley as stage leaders. Pooley did most of the work, but I couldn't collaborate because I wanted to defend [teammate] Judith Arndt's position on GC. Finally at the summit, I attacked about 800 metres from the top and went for the win."

Now second overall, Abbott was cautiously optimistic about Columbia-HTC's chances of winning, either with her or another rider. "There are some very tough stages coming up, but Judith [Arndt] is still high up on the overall so we've got a lot of options, not just me. But in any case, I'm very pleased about things have worked out today. It was cool!"

“It was a hard race,” said Cervelo test team Sports Director Manel Lacambra. “We controlled the race for the first 60 km, and then Pooley attacked on the climb and broke away with a few others. In the decent it was slippery as it was raining. From our team Claudia, Kristin and Emma (Pooley) were all involved in crashes and missed the lead. Claudia and Emma were able to make it back to the lead but unfortunately Armstrong was too far back. On the final climb Pooley attacked again and got away with Hausler and Mara Abbot. It was a hectic final. The finish sprint was won by Mara Abbot ahead of Emma and Claudia. With her second place finish, Emma took also the lead in the overall ranking. Luckily all girls are fine after the crashes and we can look forward to the next stages. I am very happy about the team performances today.”

Emma Mackie's Lotto Belisol teammate, Elizabeth Armitstead, held onto the white jersey.

Stage 3 top 10 results:
1 Mara Abbott (USA) Team Columbia-HTC Women 2:55:32
2 Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervelo Test Team s.t.
3 Claudia Hausler (Ger) Cervelo TestTeam 0:00:36
4 Judith Arndt (Ger) Team Columbia-HTC Women 0:01:24
5 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Fenixs Edilsavino s.t.
6 Carla Ryan (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 0:01:32
7 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Gauss RDZ Ormu - Colnago 0:02:00
8 Amber Neben (USA) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung 0:02:05
9 Nicole Brandli (Swi) Bigla Cycling Team 0:02:47
10 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Selle Italia Ghezzi s.t.

Top 10 GC:
1 Emma Pooley (GBr) Cervelo Test Team 6:06:15
2 Mara Abbott (USA) Team Columbia-HTC 0:01:07
3 Claudia Häusler (Ger) Cervelo Test Team 0:01:18
4 Judith Arndt (Ger) Equipe Nürnberger 0:01:40
5 Amber Neben (Usa) Team Columbia-HTC 0:01:34
6 Svetlana Bubnenkova (Rus) Fenixs Edilsavino 0:01:45
7 Edita Pucinskaite (Ltu) Gauss Rdz Ormu Colnago 0:02:22
8 Carla Ryan (Aus) Cervelo Test Team 0:03:04
9 Nicole Brändli (Sui) Team Bigla 0:03:34
10 Fabiana Luperini (Ita) Selle Italia Ghezzi 0:04:12

Jersey classification:
Pink: Emma Pooley (Cervelo Test Team)
Cyclamen: Emma Pooley
Green: Mara Abbott (Team Columbia-HTC)
White: Elizabeth Armitstead (Lotto Belisol Ladies Team)

Photos: Mara Abbott crossing the mountaintop finish ahead of Emma Pooley; Mara Abbott, Emma Pooley and Elizabeth Armitstead

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