18th Giro Della Toscana 2013
Stage 2 -Vos wins bunch sprint
Porcari – Pontedera 110.05 km
Marianne Vos (Rabo Women) secured her hold on the overall jersey with a decisive sprint to complete stage 2. A photo finish in Pontedera decided the result for Vos ahead of Shelly Olds (Tibco) and Barbara Guarischi (Vaiano Fondriest).
A crash after the finish, showed where safety should be a concern not just during the race. The peloton overall had a quiet day. The race went from the Rox factory in Porcari to complete the race with five laps around Pontedera. The route was flat, and long stretches of straight headwind with short stretches of crosswind were never gong to provide much to race on. The teams with the big sprinters, Argos Shimano for Kirsten Wild and Wiggle Honda for Giorgia Bronzini, and the fact that a lot of riders wanting to get back in the race after being shelled yesterday, the race ended in the predictable mass sprint.
The finish itself was challenging and very fast. A technical road was not the riders only issue, the riders were faced with oncoming traffic which constantly caused them to be cautious. The bunch stayed together until the very last lap, riders were over cautious particularly at corners. The course ran down an overpass at 300m to go, took a slightly off camber right turn at full tilt to then end up on a wide straight to the finish. Vos, one of the best tacticians in the peloton, made a daring and technically difficult move on the inside of the final turn and it paid off.
Safety at the finish line is always a concern at any race. Space is limited and only those photographers with the official vest permitting access should technically be on course, this had not been the case on stage 1 and it seemed that the organisation faced more issues of a different kind on stage 2. After the finish line. Chloe Hosking (Hitec Products UCK) hit at full speed a video camerawoman who was standing on the road after having rushed off her motorbike to get footage to promote the race. Incredibly, Hosking suffered only minor injuries, the camerawoman was more seriously injured.
Any crash caused by a member of the official team is never acceptable. WCN's photographer CJ Farquharson can attest to that. She was notably angered by the incident and the behaviour of some others at the finish line before the arrival. An argument had ensued with another video camerman who wanted to sit in the road to do his job. He angrily capitulated, but insisted it was his right. Further, Farquharson had to lift a relatively inexperienced photographer from his knees by the collar of his shirt and out of the way of the bunch as they finished; "otherwise, it would have been him, not the video woman", she explained. "Common practice at a bunch sprint is to take the photo and then move to the barriers to clear the road for the riders. That does not even seem to be in some people's consciousness here". An after race crash is completely unacceptable. riders face dangers everyday. In this race, they have had to endure more than their fair share of issues, it is after all a 2.HC category race. Safety of the riders and those accredited to be on the race, must always be the highest priority over sponsorship and coverage. This incident is unacceptable and reflects badly on the race, Italian Federation and the UCI for allowing it to be categoried so highly when conditions in Toscana have been similar for several years.
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