Giro d'Italia Donne 2006
Pescia - Pescia, 92 km
Marta Andreu Vilajosana (Nobili) took the sprint today in Pescia, on another hot day in Italy's Giro. The climb through Montecarlo was severe and split the field. The state was 3 laps of a circuit which included the climb. The final 100m included a narrow chicane, which meant that the first rider through in a bunch sprint would stand the best chance of taking the stage. In the end, it didn't matter, Andreu Vilajosana appeared through the chicane ahead of the bunch and was able to take the time for a victory salute.
There was drama on the finishing line, when Annette Beutler (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint) fell, possibly having pulled her foot. She finished third before falling. There was enough space for the others in the bunch to avoid her whilst she lay on the ground. Despite some grazes to her elbow and leg, she appeared unhurt and walked away for medical attention, although that said, she was holding her left arm with her right hand in a manner which suggested she may have damaged her collarbone.
Whilst the field stayed pretty much together throughout the first lap, in reality, no-one expected that it would remain so. The climb of Montecarlo started with a steep section out of Marginone, passed through open countryside, the route lined with olive groves, for about 1.5km, then the final 500m were extremely steep again. The final 250m were through the village of Montecarlo, which welcomed riders through its narrow streets, the entrance to which was via a gated archway. On the second lap, a Team Bigla rider le up the climb with a 45 second advantage, but by the time the race had descended into Pescia to begin the third lap, she had been caught by the main bunch.
A group went away on the final lap, preparing for the sprint. Marta Andreu Vilajosana (Nobili) was the one to take the overall advantage, though, with her attack at the spot pre-arranged with Directeur Sportif, Walter Zini. She was able to surprise the others and maintain her advantage through the final 100m, including the treacherous chicane, to enter the Piazza Mazzini well ahead. She enjoyed her victory.
Olga Slyusareva maintained the overall lead.
Marta Andreu Vilajosana "It was a hard-won victory today. I am grateful to my Directeur Sportif, Walter Zini, who advised me exactly when to attack".
Olga Slyusareva "It is always difficult to defend the [leader's] jersey. Tomorrow will be an important day for the general classification."
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