Giro d'Italia Donne 2006
San Martino Cimino - Marsciano, 130km
It was a strange day on the Giro today. The race rolled out at 11:20am under the arch of the beautiful walled piazza in start town, San Martino Cimino, did a lap of the town and then stopped. Bikes were loaded onto the roofracks of team cars, riders got in and all race vehicles drove out at just over estimated racing pace to a point 30km from San Martino Cimino. There, in a quiet road a few kilometres from Alviano, the convoy stopped, bikes were taken down, riders remounted and the racing began.
The problem had been that the town of Viterbo, where "Kilometre 0" was listed to be had granted permission to the Giro and to another race to use its roads and to make matters worse, at the same time. To avoid the races overlapping, Viterbo had asked that the Giro delay its start by two hours. Such a move would have caused logistical difficulties fro the biggest women's race in Italy - particularly for the start town, San Martino Cimino and the finish town of Marsciano, which closed its roads and provided a wonderful finish atmosphere for the race. Such details are hard-negotiated and in deference to the course and the start and finish town's efforts, the organisers decided to transfer through the town of Viterbo in vehicle convoy. Estimated race pace was maintained in order to keep to the timetable for the rest of the stage's course.
When the race started, there were few efforts early-on which mad any impact on the stage. The special sprints competition, which is contested at a specified point each day, caused the bunch to strong out, with Australia's Jenny Macpherson accelerating away from the bunch, requiring a counter-move from competition leader, Olga Slyusareva (Colnago-Fenixs). Slyusareva took the sprint and retained her blue jersey.
As the race reached Marsciano, with 6km to go, Alessandro Dettore (Team Saccarelli) attacked. She was brought back before she made too much impact on the race, but soon afterwards, Eneritz Iturriagaechevarria (Top Girls) accelerated off the front. She stayed away for a couple of kilometres, gaining a maximum lead of about 10 seconds.
In the final three kilometres, Nicole Brändli moved up towards the front of the bunch, which was being led by Team Safi, including Silvia Parrietti and Vlaanderen Caprisonne. On Brandli's wheel was stage 2 winner, Regina Schleicher (Équipe Nürnberger). There, too, was Olga Slyusareva (Colnago-Fenixs). As the race moved into the final 2km, Zoulfia Zabirova and the others in Team Bigla were evident at the front, but so too were Schleicher's Nürnberger team-mates. Oenone Wood took a long, fast pull to lead out Schleicher, but as they approached the final, right-hand corner with 50m to go, after Wood had pulled off, Slyusareva was ahead of Schleicher, they accelerated out of the corner towards the line and Slyusareva knew she had the advantage. She continued sprinting hard and gave herself time for a punch-in-the-air celebration as she crossed the line. Schleicher was second and Katia Longhin was third.
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