Giro d'Italia Donne 2006
Cuneo - Fossano 90km
This was a relatively flat stage, undertaken in slightly cooler conditions than earlier in the Giro. The major climb of the day was the 300m of the finishing straight, which also turned left at about 200m. Just to add to the variety, the final 150, were partially cobbled, partially paved. The stage ran from Cuneo to Fossano, a short 25km trip, then 3 laps of a circuit based on Fossano, which took the riders through the finishing line 3 times prior to the sprint.
There were a few attempts to breakaway today. None lasted more than 1km, although perhaps the most danger was presented by Dorte Lohse Rasmussen (Bianchi Aliverti Kookai) and Svetlana Bubnenkova (Colnago Fenixs), who both went away late in the race. Bubnenkova attacked twice, in fact. She was caught the first time, waited a couple of kilometres and then went again.
At 78km, the race was split into 3 distinct groups, the leaders were 25 seconds up on the others by kilometre 79. However, by 80km, the advantage was down to 10 seconds and soon afterwards, the race came back together again.
The first rider to accelerate on the run in to the finish was Noemi Cantelle (Team Bigla), she went almost exactly at the 1km to go banner. At the same time, Regina Schleicher (Nürnberger) was preparing a lead out for Oenone Wood, Kate Bates having swung off earlier. The sprint was a long and difficult one. Schleicher delivered Wood to the front of the bunch, where she slotted in behind Susanne Ljungskog (Buitenpoort-Flexpoint). Ljungskog was on the wheel of her lead-out rider, Loës Gunnewijk. When Gunnewijk pulled off with 400m to go, Cantelle went again, going around Wood with Brändli on her wheel. Wood jumped onto Brändli's wheel and then, when Giorgia Bronzini (AS Team FRW) went with 300m to go, Wood went with her, finally going around her and onto the front with about 150m to go. Susanne Ljungskog tried to come back, accelerating across the road, from paved section across the cobbles to another paved section, but she pulled up short. Oenone Wood had the race sewn up with 25m to go and was able to give a two handed victory salute as she crossed the line.
Oenone Wood : "Regina was working for me today and Kate Bates did a great job as well. I was just really glad to have the legs at the finish, I didn't think I would, but we just thought we'd give it a go and it kind of worked out! I'm pretty happy, but I'm absolutely stuffed though too!"
"In the last part, Regina took me up to the front and put me onto Ljungskog's wheel. We thought the GC riders would be trying to get bonus seconds today. Ljungskog's team-mate Loës Gunnewijk took her to 400m to go and then I came around her and then Brändli came around me and I jumped onto her wheel. Then Giorgia Bronzini started sprinting with about 300m to go, so I jumped onto her wheel and then came around her in the final straight."
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