Marianne Vos won the sixth World Cup round of the season: the Sparkassen Giro in Bochum, Germany.
“The pace was high throughout the race and there were attacks but it was just like on the Champs Elysées, nobody really got away” the winner said. “I attacked to get the sprinters to come to the front but when there was a group with a little gap, we couldn’t keep it. In the last lap I decided I would go for the sprint.”
There were 23 teams and 128 riders at the start of the Sparkassen Giro, a race that was created in 2001. This year marks the first time it is categorized as a World Cup race. Under partly cloudy skies but with temperatures up to 27 degrees, the peloton faced eight 15,5 kilometre laps making it 124 kilometres in total.
Lizzie Armistead, the World Cup leader was not at the start line because of the Commonwealth Games road race today, a race the English rider also won. Her lead in the UCI Women World Cup was 160 points and with 120 points up for grabs for the winner in Bochum today, she would not be threatened.
The other classifications were far more open. None of the current leaders in the other classifications: Rebecca Wiasak (points) and Pauline Ferrand Prevot (mountains and best young rider) were present, so there was a race within a race to get points for those rankings.
Iris Slappendel (Rabo-Liv) had 12 points, just like Wiasak and during the first sprint she immediately took second after a lead out by Vos. Astana Be Pink’s Anna Maria Stricker won the sprint. The Italian came third in the second and last sprint where Slappendel was second again.
“Plouay will be important” Slappendel said on keeping the sprint leader’s jersey . “I designed the jerseys myself and now I would like to take one home too but it’s not a goal for the team in itself.”
Astana Be Pink was also actively pursuing the mountain’s jersey, next to the sprint one. After Trofeo Binda Alena Amialiusik had a brief stint in the jersey and she was happy to have it back today. For her it’s a goal to keep it now. “I am happy with it. There are two more hard races in Sweden and France coming but I’ll do my best.”
The race itself was done at very high speeds. “The pace was high and then it was down again” Slappendel commented. “We, Rabo-Liv, were very active, tried to split the field. Also Specialized-Lululemon and Boels-Dolmans wanted to do something but all the others played the sprint card.”
The only attack that stuck for more than a few kilometres was that of Japanese champion Mayuko Hagiwara for Wiggle-Honda in the penultimate lap. She kept ahead of the bunch for over ten kilometres but a sprint was predicted and a sprint it would be.
Vos was the second rider through the last corner. She started the 300 metre sprint early but despite a late surge by Bronzini, Vos kept her lead and just like last week in La Course on the Champs Elysées she won the sprint.
“It was hard. It’s a city circuit. It’s fast and you have to stay at the front and stay alert. I tried to attack but the end it was a bunch sprint after all,” Vos concluded.
Picture: The Sparkassen Finish