Faren Honda’s Fabiana Luperini can now pack and take home the blue jersey she has proudly been wearing since stage three, through to the end of the 2012 Giro d’Italia Donne which finished in Bergamo today.
Luperini took a strangle hold on the competition after a courageous display of strength in stage three. The Italian climber rode away from the peloton up the penultimate climb with only two other riders able to hold her wheel. She also went on to claim 2nd place in that stage.
Luperini then cemented her lead at the top of the classification by placing a respectable 7th in stage 4, and then again stepping up onto the podium in stage 7 for 3rd place.
Overall, it was a successful tour for team Faren Honda in its maiden showing at the 2012 Giro d’Italia Donne. In addition to Luperini’s Maglia Azure and two podium finishes, Rochelle Gilmore also claimed three top 10 finishes in stages 1, 5 and 6. Current Olympic Champion Nicole Cooke always rode aggressively whilst the team’s domestiques Gracie Elvin, Giuseppina Grassi, Jennifer Hohl and Yulia Blindyuk faithfully dedicated themselves to their leaders to ensure team Faren Honda always remained in contention for results in each stage.
Luperini’s comeback year has been extremely successful, before the Giro she took an impressive solo stage win at the tour of Trentino and her consistency saw her finish 4th on GC today. “I’m content with my results here at the Giro because we didn’t expect them, we were hoping the Giro would consist of more longer climbs like in the previous years – that’s what I needed in order to be in contention for the win.” Luperini said.
Fabiana Luperini has raced the Giro d’Italia 16 times now, winning at her first attempt and then an additional 4 times since. Can she win again? “Fabi is climbing as strong as the strongest in the world and if the climbs were longer here, we may have seen her take a 6th Giro title. She is one of the most professional athletes in the sport so if the course is right for her next year and the team offers strong support – she could definitely win again” said Faren Honda’s team manager, Walter Ricci.
Team Faren Honda will now focus on preparing Nicole Cooke to defend her current title at the 2012 Olympic Games in London on the 29th of July.
Above: Team Faren Honda with the Managing Director of Kuota – Ermanno.
Above: Nicole Cooke driving an early break.
Above: Giuseppina Grassi looking comfortable after supporting Luperini all week.
Above: Jennifer Hohl on the last climb of the 2012 Giro Donne.
Above: Rochelle Gilmore, all smiles on the last climb of the day!
Above: Fabiana Luperini working hard to secure the Blue Jersey.
Above: Faren Honda’s little champion! Fabiana Luperini.
Stage 9 Results:
1 Emma Johansson (Swe) Hitec Products – Mistral Home Cycling Team 2:44:38
2 Marianne Vos (Ned) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team
3 Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drink – Leontien.nl Cycling Team 0:00:02
4 Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Be Pink 0:03:37
5 Rossella Ratto (Ita) Verinlegno – Fabiani
6 Rasa Leleivyte (Ltu) Vaiano Tepso
7 Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Hitec Products – Mistral Home Cycling Team
8 Judith Arndt (Ger) Orica-AIS
9 Lucinda Brand (Ned) AA Drink – Leontien.nl Cycling Team
10 Malgorzata Jasinska (Pol) MCipollini Giambenini
Final general classification
1 Marianne Vos (Ned) Stichting Rabo Women Cycling Team 24:50:43
2 Emma Pooley (GBr) AA Drink – Leontien.nl Cycling Team 0:03:27