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Luperini still sits pretty in blue as one lone rider upsets the potential bunch sprint on stage 5

Stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia had every intention of being a stage for the sprinters, that was until Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) won in a surprise solo attack forcing the sprinters to battle it out for the minor placings.

Faren Honda’s Nicole Cooke and Gracie Elvin were present at the front of the bunch during the early stages of the race in an attempt tospur a chase from the peloton, however, their attempts proved futile as Cromwell continued to build on her advantage. The bunch clearly wanted a rest day mid- Giro Donne 2012.

It wasn’t until Cromwell became virtual overall race leader on the road that the team of current race leader Marianne Vos (Rabobank) took responsibility at the head of the peloton and went in pursuit of the lone rider with 15 kilometres remaining.

In the end Cromwell proved too strong crossing the line nearly 9 minutes ahead of the fast closing bunch, leaving them to battle it out in a bunch sprint for the minor placings.

After having spent most of their energy in yesterday’s chase, team Faren Honda tried desperately to assist their sprinter Rochelle Gilmore but their efforts proved no match for the remaining fresh sprint trains as Gilmore was left to fight for herself – finishing in 8th place.

“Today’s bunch sprint for 2nd place is not one I’d like to spend too much time reflecting on. I lost the mental game, the motivation to sprint and the opportunity to podium. I’m very disappointed but tomorrow is a new day.” Gilmore said.

A harsh curse has prevented Gilmore from making it passed the halfway point of the Giro d’Italia for the past couple of years and even though she is not the superstitious type, the team were relived to see her break the Giro jinx and finish today unscathed – touch wood. Faren Honda’s president Walter Ricci commented, “It’s possible that Gilmore subconsciously sprinted with caution today and will be back to her determined self if and when this race presents another opportunity for her to sprint. Today’s sprint was not for the win so there was no need for her to take any risks.”

The undulating profile of tomorrow’s stage will prove the perfect opportunity for a small breakaway group to battle it out for the stage win. Team Faren Honda will make it a priority to protect Fabiana Luperini’s GC positionand blue jersey, while also attempting to put one of their riders in a winning position during stage 6.


Above: Nicole Cooke & Jennifer Hohl during today’s pre – race interview.


Above: Rochelle Gilmore & Giuseppina Grassi during stage 5.


Above: Gracie Elvin keeping a close eye on things at the front of the peloton.


Above: Nicole Cooke controlling the relaxed bunch.


Above: Another day on the podium for Faren Honda’s Fabiana Luperini.

Stage 5 Results:

1) Cromwell
2) Bronzini
3) Scandolara
4) Hosking
5) Andruk
6) Baccaille
7) Johansson
8) Gilmore
9) Tagliaferro
10) Taylor

General Classification after stage 5:

1) Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabobank) in 10h16’54”
2) Evelyn Stevens (Team Specialized Lululemon) a 1’31”
3) Emma Pooley (AA Drink a 2’07”
4) Fabiana Luperini (Faren Honda Team) a 2’37”
5) Tiffany Cromwell (GreenEdge AIS) a 3’46’’
6) Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giambenini) a 4’08”
7) Claudia Hausler (GreenEdge AIS) a 4’15”
8) Judith Arndt (GreenEdge AIS) a 4’25”
9) Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec Products Mistral Home) a 5’00”
10) Ashleigh Moolman (Lotto Belisol Ladies) a 5’00”

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