Giorgia Bronzini sprints to victory at Chongming Island World Cup

by Jessi Braverman


Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) won round five of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday in Chongming. The two-time road world champion (2010-2011) sprinted to victory ahead of Kirsten Wild (Hitec Products) and Fanny Ribérot (France National Team) on the Chinese Island of Chongming.

The Tour of Chongming Island World Cup is the third World Cup victory for Wiggle Honda who claimed round one (Ronde van Drenthe) with Jolien d’Hoore and round three (Tour of Flanders) with Elisa Longo Borghini. The result was especially poignant for the British-registered squad following Bronzini’s disappointment on missing out on a win during the three-day Tour of Chongming run earlier this week, captured in the video below.

The circuit is sprinter-friendly, and barring very unexpected circumstances, the Chinese World Cup always comes down to a field sprint. Now in its fifth year, the only instance in which the race was not decided by a sprint was in 2013 when a lone leader held off the chasing peloton because the peloton was misdirected in the final kilometres of the race.

The 125 kilometre course begins in Shanghai. Wide, straight roads take the peloton to an underwater tunnel that leads to the Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge. The bridge deposits riders back to Chongming Island and sees the race borrow from the courses used during the three-day Chinese tour that recently raced.

“It’s the same riders as the Tour of Chongming, and it’s the same roads,” said Nettie Edmondson in a post-race phone call with Ella CyclingTips. “We knew exactly what to expect and exactly what we had to do. There weren’t many nerves at all for this race with us.”

“The nice thing for was us was we had Eileen Roe in our team, who was lining up for her first World Cup,” Edmondson continued. “That took us back a bit. You think: ‘What was it like when I lined up for my first World Cup?’ I think we all appreciated being part of her first World Cup experience with her.”

Local teams animated the early action. Despite attempts from the Asian teams to break from the peloton, none of the attacks were converted into escapes. A handful of riders lost contact with the bunch due to crosswinds over the Shanghai Yangtze River Bridge.

Hongyu Liang (China Chongming-Liv-Champion System Pro Cycling) and Anastasia Chulkova (Bepink) escaped in the second half of the race. The duo opened up a maximum advantage of one minute before they were reabsorbed by the peloton with seven kilometres left to race.

“When those two riders went with maybe 30km to go, they got a lot of time really quickly, so it was quite threatening,” noted Edmondson. “Hitec, because of their success at the Tour, the pressure was on their shoulders to do the chasing. They just went up there and started chopping off. At 15km, another group almost went away. That broke things up a bit but Hitec went straight back to the front to do a lot of work to bring it back.”

“We decided it wasn’t up to us,” Edmondson added. “We used that to our advantage and saved our energy and stayed together at the back of the bunch. We focussed on ourselves and our plan with the lead-out train in the sprint.

Chloe Hosking was the sprinter-elect for Wiggle Honda on Sunday, but the Australian was caught out in the final kilometre and unable to make full use our her train. Bronzini stepped up to the plate.

“We were together for the lead-out for Chloe but there was some chaos before the last corner that divided us, so I remained with Nettie in my wheel,” Bronzini said in a team statement on the Wiggle Honda website. “At 700 metres to go, the best thing was go out in the right side to pull for a sprint, but I had no space so I decided to wait.”

“At 300 metres to go I checked behind me and also Nettie wasn’t in my draft so I decided to defend my position and keep Wild’s wheel,” Bronzini continued. “Fortunately for me there was a strong head wind and she had to take a long sprint, so I could come out the last moment.”

“That’s the benefit of having three sprinters in our lead-out train,” Edmondson added. “It doesn’t exactly matter what order we’re in, you still get three options.”

“I’m really happy Gio won,” noted Edmondson. “She lost a lot of confidence in the last couple days because she wasn’t able to finish off the sprint, which was a sprint that really didn’t suit her small size, but she pulled it off today. I think that shows what kind of talent she really is.”

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Information out of the Chinese races is typically a bit hard to come by due to a variety of factors. Big thanks to Nettie Edmondson of Wiggle Honda for generously agreeing to daily phone calls to share insight into each of the four days of racing in Chongming.

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