New race leader used memory of elder sibling Daniele's Grand Tour stage victory to push her to breakaway success in Bedford.
The new Friends Life Women’s Tour race leader Rosella Ratto said she used her brother’s stage win in the Vuelta a Espana last year to inspire to claim victory in a wet Bedford today.
Ratto is the younger sister of Cannondale rider Daniele, who soloed to win the rain-affected fourteenth stage of the 2013 Vuelta.
The Estadio de Mexico-Faren rider took the honours alongside the River Great Ouse after a 60-kilometre breakaway in inclement conditions, the first half of which was her on her own.
“This morning I was dreaming that the weather would get better and better, but it didn’t,” said the Italian.
“In the race I was thinking about my brother, who won a stage in the Vuelta last year solo in the rain. I was thinking I could do the same.”
Ratto broke clear to claim points at the Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Brixworth, and was eventually joined by compatriot Suzanna Zorzi (Astana-BePink).
“Suzanna is one of those riders who goes flat out, always. I think she was the best rider I could have in a breakaway,” added Ratto.
“She’s just one year older [than me], we raced all our careers together. We have been room-mates; we shared when she won the European title [U23 road race] last year.
“I was about to give up when Suzanna came over, and I thought ‘why not continue?’. I saw the gap going up, and I thought maybe we could do it.”
Ratto finished third at the World Championships road race in Italy last September, but this was the 20-year-old’s first professional victory. It came in the longest stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour.
She added: “I think that the first victory is still something that is particular. The podium in the Worlds I was waiting for – I was close to winning races at the end of last year, I was almost always on the podium, but I never won.”
Her GC lead of five seconds over Zorzi and six to Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) is likely to prove insignificant given the time bonuses on offer throughout the final three stages.
“I will try, but it will not be easy,” said Ratto about a defence of the Friends Life yellow jersey.