Saturday 2 July 2011

Giro Donne: Stage 2 debrief

Shara Gillow is the new leader of the Giro Donne
Stage 2 of the Giro Donne may as well have been two separate races after the riders split themselves into a main group and a fourteen woman breakaway which maintained an impressive lead and dominated from early in the 91km stage. Riders only broke rank on the day's big climb, the 900m ascent of Madonna Regina where Valentina Scandolara triumphed, guaranteeing another day in the Mountain Classification jersey for herself. The climb was too much for some riders and when the leaders regrouped once over the summit, five had fallen back to the peloton and more were shaken off when Polish ex-mountain biker Sylwia Kapusta launched an attack so fierce that only Australian Sharon Gillow and Britain's Sharon Laws were able to respond, the three pulling away and gradually building up an ever-increasing gap between themselves and the rest.

Kapusta misjudged, however, and when the end was within sight she didn't have the reserves left to take on Gillow and Laws who fought all the way to the line, with the 28-year-old Queenslander finding enough left over to fuel one last thrust. Laws responded, but she was just beaten - closely enough that she was awarded the same time as first place.

Kapusta came in 10 seconds later, looking exhausted, and she had evidently wanted first today must be feeling proud of an heroic effort. Marianne Vos, our tip for the top today, managed tenth place in the end despite a sprint finish that should have suited her well and so will now hand the pink leader's jersey over to Gillow. The 23-year-old Queenslander was one of the less well-known names on the women's racing circuit but has become a formidable presence, winning the Oceania Road Race Championships and Australian National Time Trial. Let's hope she doesn't value anonymity, because when a rider makes an impact like she has so far this year the world will take notice.

Stage results:

1. Shara Gillow (Australia) Bizkaia-Durango 2h3’48”
2. Sharon Laws (UK) Garmin-Cervélo same time
3. Sylwia Kapusta (Poland) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu +10s
4. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (France) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu +46s
5. Grace Verbeke (Belgium) Topsport Vlaanderen 2012-Ridley +48”
6. Andrea Dvorak (USA) Colavita-Forno d’Asolo +57”
7. Ina Teutenberg (Germany) HTC-Highroad +1’06”
8. Valentina Scandolara (Italy) Gauss-RDZ-Ormu +1’09”
9. Linda Villumsen (New Zealand) AA Drink-Leontien +1’32”
10. Marianne Vos (Netherlands) Nederland Bloeit +3’18”

General Classification:

1. Shara Gillow 4h49'35"  
2. Sharon Laws +04"  
3. Sylwia Kapusta +16 "
4. Christel Ferrier-Bruneau +56"  
5. Grace Verbeke +58" 
6. Ina Teutenberg +1'10" 
7. Andrea Dvorak +1'30"  
8. Linda Villumsen +1'42" 
9. Valentina Scandolara +1'50"  
10. Marianne Vos +3'17"

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