Tour of Chongming Island, 2012
Stage 2 - Baccaille wins sprint and moves into overall
Chongxi Stage, 118.4km
Monia Baccaille (McCipolini) positioned herself perfectly for the sprint at the end of the 118.4km stage to Chongxi. On her wheel was Chloe Hosking (Specialised Lululemon) and American, Shelly Olds (AA Drink). Overnight leader, Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS ) was fourth ahead of Rochelle Gilmore (Faren)
The sun shone on the scenic second stage of the Tour of Chongming Island. This stage included in the first 40 kilometres narrow, twisting roads along the coast and through parkland around a lake. There was a stiff breeze and in previous years, this has been the place for a breakaway. AA Drink's Marieke van Wanroij was the rider to test her luck this year. She saw a gap at the front of the bunch and jumped from the pack. Nobody went with her and the Dutchwoman soon built up a gap of 40 seconds. The bunch allowed her to lead all the way until towards the end of the parkland. As the race approached wider roads again and perhaps more importantly, the first intermediate sprint point of the day, van Wanroij was caught.
The pace lifted on the wide roads leading to the sprint point, situated at 39 km. A group of three did break away momentarily, but with bonus seconds towards general classification available, there was no chance that they would stay away. That first sprint was won by race leader, Melissa Hoskins (Orica-AIS), with Liesbet De Vocht (Rabo Women) second and Monia Baccaille (MCipollini), third.
Although the middle part of the race was peppered with some aggressive solo attacks and also some high paced coordinated team riding at the front, no significant breaks ensued.
The second sprint signalled the end of the second third of the race, at 83km of the 118km total distance. Once more Orica-AIS and MCipollini were active. The sprint was taken by Baccaille, followed by Shelley Olds and Hoskins.
Having started the day seven seconds behind Hoskins and after the two intermediate sprints, the situation on the road was unchanged - still a seven second advantage to Hoskins.
The run back in to the finish was a steady acceleration. The Orica-AIS and MCipollini teams made sure the pace was high in the final kilometres. Rabo Women and AA Drink were also 'in the mix' with their riders forming trains to set up the sprint. Once again, there was a crash in the final kilometre, this time caused by a sudden change in direction at the front after one rider clipped a pedal or foot on the foot of one of the barriers lining the course. Her change in direction and speed caused a 'snake' or 'whiplash' immediately behind. Several riders fell heavily and were taken to hospital with suspected broken bones.
Once again, as had been the case on Stage 1, the leaders were unaffected and Baccaille was clearly ahead and able to maintain her advantage over the final 100 metres. She crossed the line first, second was Chloe Hosking (Specialized-lululemon), third, Shelley Olds (AA Drink). Yellow jersey, Hoskins finished fourth. That put her outside of bonus seconds and with Baccaille picking up ten seconds for the win, put her second on general classification, three seconds behind the new leader.
wasnít so good,Ē sighed Baccaille, reflecting somewhat harshly
on her third place in stage one. ďI just went too early in the
sprint. Thatís why it was beautiful to see my team ride so perfectly
today. We were on the front for the last five kilometres; it was a race
between GreenEDGE and MCipollini. I feel like Iím getting stronger and
of course now I hope to win overall.ď
The general classification now has only Baccaille and Hoskins within three seconds of each other. Rochelle Gilmore (Faren) is third, 16 seconds behind along with Hosking and Olds. Stage 3 is a city circuit race, on relatively wide roads. 11 laps of 7.2km will be raced. Recent history on this circuit suggests that breakaways do not succeed and that there will be a mass sprint at the finish. The implication of this is that the 3 intermediate sprints and finish line bonuses could prove important to the general classification.
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