Italy took its third win in the last five years at the World Championships yesterday in Geelong, Australia, with Giorgia Bronzini. The 27-year-old from the northern region of Emilia-Romagna sprinted ahead of the group that caught Brit Nicole Cooke on the finish line.
Bronzini explained, “I thought, ‘OK, I’m here, here’s my chance and I must do my best for the Italian team because they are here for me and they have worked for me to take the win.'”
Her win was the second consecutive win by Italy after Tatiana Guderzo’s win last year in Mendrisio, Switzerland. It was the third in the last five years, starting with Marta Bastianelli’s in 2007.
Guderzo played a key role in Bronzini’s win. The defending champion, wearing race number 1, attacked on the seventh of eight circuits. Her move was vital for Bronzini as it forced their rivals, like Brit Emma Pooley and American Amber Neben, to chase.
Nicole Cooke and German Judith Arndt slipped the group on the final lap, but Bronzini remained calm for the sprint and Italy’s fifth medal from four different riders in five years. Only The Netherlands can match Italy, but that is thanks to one rider, Marianne Vos (1 gold and 4 silver medals).
Italy’s unity was even stronger this year due to the loss of the men’s head coach, Franco Ballerini. Ballerini led the men’s team to four gold medals, but died in a rally car race on February 7.
“When I arrived to the finish I made the symbol of a heart,” said Bronzini. “I raced with my heart and I thought of Franco Ballerini watching over us today.”
Two-time World Championship winner, Paolo Bettini took over the head coach position for the men’s team and Edoardo Salvoldi continues to direct the women’s team.
“My girls,” said Salvoldi, “showed once again to be the strongest in the world.”
World Championships 2010: Reports
Thor Hushovd wins the rainbow jersey
Bronzini springs last gasp surprise on Cooke and Arndt
Under-23 men’s road race: Matthews takes home win
Men’s TT: Cancellara makes history with fourth world time trial title
Women’s TT: Pooley wins Worlds time trial
Under-23 Men TT: Phinney lives up to expectations, Dowsett suffers setback