23rd Giro d'Italia Femminile Internazionale 2012
Stage 4 Vos wins and secured solid lead overall
Montecatini (PT) - Montecatini (PT) 98 km
Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) was not letting anyone take the Maglia Rosa off her shoulders for long. The Dutch woman dominated the closing stages of stage 4, to place herself 1 minute 26 ahead of Emma Johansson (Hitec-Mistrel) and Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini). Overall Vos moved to 1 minute 31 seconds ahead of Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-Lululemon).
After the tough conditions on stage 3, 122 riders started the 98km course around Montecatini. Conditions were still extremely warm for the start reaching 35 degrees at the half way point of the race.
Immediately the attacks started from Valentina Bastianelli (Vaiano) and Marta Bastianelli (McCipollini). The pair did not last long too long. The main teams of the leaders controlled the bunch and closed the gap. According to the organisation the stage 4 course was designed by Edita Pucinskaite who won the Giro Donne in 2006 and 2007. Shelly Olds (AA Drink) attacked alone but she was reeled in.
After 30 km of racing an attack from Olga Zabelinskaya (RusVelo) took a group of 10 riders away from the main bunch. The lead group which also included; Christel Ferrier Bruneau (Hitec), Alessandra d'Ettorre (Diadora Pasta Zara), Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink), Malgorzta Jasinska & Valentina Carretta (MCipollini), Katie Colclough & Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-Lululemon), Adrie Visser (Netherlands), Sanne van Paassen (Rabo Women) and Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) quickly gained momentum and held a 1 minute 30 second lead on the chase group with 50 km to go. Lisa Brennauer (Specialized-Lululemon) dropped out of the group to go back the main group to support the chase for overnight leader Evelyn Stevens.
Specialized Lululemon worked hard on the front to close the gap to the leading group. After 59km the gap was down to 52 seconds. At the bottom of the main climb, the peloton was all together again.
It was an attack by Pooley that broke the race up. She was followed by the Maglia Rosa, Stevens. They attacked the climb and gained 35 seconds on a chase group of 10 that included the main GC riders. The rest of the peloton were splintered down the climb. Pooley crossed the GPM ahead of Stevens. They held a small lead over Vos who was chasing hard.
The Dutchwoman used her talent descending skills to catch and pass the two leaders. In the chase behind, Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo Women) and Alena Amialiusik (Be Pink) overcooked a turn and came off on a steep corner. They managed to get back on their bikes to finish.
When the road levelled out, Pooley attacked the chase group in an attempt to close the gap to Vos, who was 1 minute 30 seconds in the lead at this point. She quickly gained 40 seconds, but she was caught by Stevens, Häusler, Luperini, Guderzo and Johansson. Stevens was valiant in defending her maglia rosa, but she couldn't shake off the others.
Vos suffered on the climb but kept her momentum to move herself back into
the Maglia Rosa.
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
Video thanks to Giro Donne 2012
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