Photo by Bart Hazen
Tiffany’s first International Podium of the 2014 Season
The Specialized-Lululemon squad headed to Italy, the land of good food and beautiful landscape for the next block of racing. The first race was the UCI 1.2 GP Cornaredo on the outskirts of Milan.
A highly technical 11km flat circuit completed 11 times for a total distance of 121km, a perfect opportunity for hard and aggressive racing.
Dark clouds with rain on the horizon, 138 girls took to the start line in dry, windy and cool conditions. The team went into the race with the plan to be aggressive, look for opportunities and always be on the front foot and not left chasing missed moves.
From the gun the pace was high with the peloton stretched out during the opening lap. On lap two the attacks began with Specialzied-Lululemon coming to the fore launching moves off of the front. After a few attacks a group of 3 riders went clear with Trixi in the move for the team.
The three worked well together at the front and with some hesitation from behind they were able to quickly build up a lead. Their gap was holding steady at around 55 seconds for the next laps until Bigla came to the head of the peloton and began a chase to bring back the move.
Bigla team time trialed at the head of the chase and slowly reduced the gap to the 3 leaders and with 7 laps to go in the race it was all back together. Specialized-Lululemon wasted no time and went on the attack again to create a new move off the front to continue to put pressure on the teams of the sprinters.
Carmen was part of the next move to be established off the front made up of 5 riders. This time it was the Ale-Cipollini team who came to the front of the peloton and chased the move back over the next laps.
4 laps remained and once again the race was all back together, with only 60 riders remaining in the race as the laps took its toll on riders legs. Specialized-Lululemon don’t have a pure sprinter so they wanted to continue to be aggressive to keep their odds higher for the win if they can come to the finish with a small break.
The attacks continued and in the cross winds Elise was able to break free taking three other riders with her and quickly another rider bridged with Tiffany able to come across with her. It was a perfect situation for the team having two riders in a break of 6 with most of the major teams represented although not all the riders wanted to work in the break.
Tiffany and Elise pushed hard in the break as they wanted to keep the situation off of the front but with 3 riders sitting on and teams back in the peloton working for a sprint they were reeled back in with just over 1 lap remaining.
At this point light rain began to fall on the course and the roads became damp. Alexandra Burchenkova (Rusvelo) slipped off the front through the technical finish holding a slim gap over what was left of the peloton.
At this point the Specialized-Lululemon team made the call that they would ride for a sprint with the technical finishing suiting the sprinting style of some of their riders. Tiffany was put as the protected rider and once Burchenkova was caught with 5km remaining the focus was all on the finish.
The team got together at the head of the peloton with 2km remaining and stretched the peloton out over the bridge and into the final corners giving Tiffany the perfect lead out to the finish.
They held their speed high through the corners and the peloton stretched out in one line. Tiffany was able to come off of the wheel of her final lead out with 200m to go. Shelley Olds (Ale-Cipollini) was too fast and came over Tiffany in the finish but she was strong enough to hold onto 2nd ahead of Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda).
It was a strong display of team work all day by the Specialized-Lululemon team and Tiffany was happy to be able to finish off the job and deliver the team a podium result and take her first podium of the international season.
The team now have a week to recover as they train together around the Lago Iseo area of Italy ahead of next weekends 2nd world cup of the season, Trofeo Alfredo Binda.