World road champion Giorgia Bronzini rode her Colavita-Forno D’Asolo train to the stage 2 win at the Nature Valley Grand Prix Wednesday night. After her team wrestled control from the Tibco-To the Top squad in the final lap, Bronzini came out of the final corner in third wheel behind teammate Teresa Cliff-Ryan and Shelley Olds (Diadora-Pasta Zara). She couldn’t be matched when she kicked in downtown Saint Paul and Bronzini came around Olds to ride away with the second stage of the five-day, six-stage race.
Just as she did at the Liberty Classic earlier this month, defending overall champion Olds finished second to Bronzini, with Chloe Hosking (HTC-Highroad) third.
“Shelley is the best sprinter in the group here,” said Bronzini. “I must take her if I want to try to win. My tactic was the same at the Liberty Classic.”
Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12) finished in the bunch and retained her yellow leader’s jersey.
The 28-lap criterium stage started under pouring skies. The slick asphalt and brick roads gave way to a five-rider breakaway when Armstrong’s teammate Lauren Tamayo tagged onto a move with Olds, Amanda Miller (HTC), Joelle Numainville (Tibco-To The Top) and Leah Kirchmann (Colavita-Forno D’Asolo). The group never took more than half a minute on the field and the chase behind them organized after the time bonus sprint 13 laps from the finish.
Armstrong came to the front in her yellow jersey and took five seconds out of the leaders. With 10 to go, it was groupo compacto. The front of the race shuffled for four laps before HTC’s Amber Neben, fourth on GC, went to the front. A lap later, Colavita and Armstrong led the bunch through the start/finish three-wide. Diadora also had a rider at the front and no team appeared to want control before three to go when Colavita began massing.
The blue and white train of Tibco usurped them on the penultimate lap, but by the time they came through for the bell, Tibco had only three riders left on the point. That’s when Colavita came through and when Cliff-Ryan delivered Bronzini and Olds to the final corner, it was a two-woman race.
“We knew that I must go out from the last corner at maybe three or maximum fourth position,” said Bronzini.
The world champion came out of Olds’ wheel 150 meters from the line for the win.