Giro d'Italia Donne 2006
Serravalle Scrivia - Novi Ligure, 73km
Olga Slyusareva (Colnago Fenixs) took her third stage of the Giro in a sprint finish. Leading into the straight through a right hand bend with 150m to go, Giorgia Bronzini (AS Team FRW) had to adjust her line as she went wide. Despite a huge effort, Bronzini had to content herself with second place. Monica Baccaille (Team Saccarelli Emu) was third.
Edita Puckinskaite (Nobili) took over the mountains jersey from Nicole Brändli. Despite that change, Slyusareva remains the leader in the other competitions.
The finish town, Novi Ligure was the home town of cycling great, Fausto Coppi. A special presentation was made to the stage winner outside of the Museum of Champions.
The bunch stayed together for the initial kilometres of the race. The climb, 30km from the finish was a tough summit to reach, the road dragged upwards almost form the start. But it was the final 2.5 kilometres at 6% gradient which really hurt the field. Edita Puckinskaite was first over the line, a breakaway had taken her clear 10km from the summit. She clearly had her heart set on this one. The points were sufficient to put her into the mountain leader's jersey. Initially Puckinskaite gained 25 seconds, then she was joined by Tatiana Guderzo (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) and Andrea Graus (Team Bigla). The trio stayed clear until after the GPM point, when Puckinskaite sat up.
A main bunch stayed together through the descent and towards the finish. There were various attempts by riders to take the advantage early in the closing kilometres. Regina Schleicher (Nürnberger), Edita Puckinskaite (Nobili) and Nicole Brändli (Team Bigla) all attacked, but were not allowed off the front. It all came down to the sprint and as the bunch came into sight around the final bend, Slyusareva was already ahead. She continued sprinting hard up the finishing straight and celebrated her third stage win in this Giro with a two-handed salute.
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