Yet another gold for Pirrone
Elena Pirrone stepped up the pace descending going solo on the last lap claiming yet another gold medal.
Story by Benedicte Vabø / Mia Becker
The course in Bergen was considerable tougher than during last year´s world championships. The women junior road racers had to climb Salmon Hill four times. Italian Pirrone proved to be the best at it, finishing before silver medallist Danish Cecilie Norsgaard with another Italian, Letizia Paternoster, taking bronze.
Pirrone also claimed gold at the Time Trial race and stayed confident in the Italian team’s possibilities.
-We have a strong team and have great cooperation, that´s why we get medals. I am very happy winning here and be able to stand on the podium with Letizia, says Pirrone.
Norsgaard tried her way downhill
The larger teams were active from start, with Italy and Netherlands in front of the peloton. Germany, United States and Denmark also making their mark early on. Already three kilometres into the race Paternoster were behind and had to be picked up back to the peloton by Vittoria Guazzini.
First time going up Salmon Hill, the front group held a steady but high pace, leaving several riders behind. Then on the way downhill Norsgaard made herself a 24 second lead, filled with confidence from her silver medal at the European Championships earlier this year. At the 19.1 mark the Dane lead by 42 seconds down to the chasing peloton. Hannah Ludwig, fourth in the Time Trial, pushed hard in the front to catch up, with other riders helping out and Norsgaard was brought back. She also dropped the front group at Salmon hill pacing herself for the later part of the race.
Pirrone on the attack
With 40 cyclists in the peloton at 38,2 kilometres Ludwig once again lead the field. On the way to Salmon hill several teams attacked. The peloton scattered and only 16 riders remained. The Pirrone went on the attach descending at a high speed. Both Ludwig and Norsgaard desperately tried to follow but Pirrone caught a lead by 13 seconds with 24 kilometres to go.
In the chasing peloton, riders were attacking more than cooperating and Pirrone could extend her lead to 30 seconds. When going into Salmon Hill the final time Italy went in front controlling the pace before more attacks came about. ThenNorsgaard, who had let go on the way up, caught the group in front again at the descent. At this point it was getting too late to catch the leader. Danish Caroline Bohé took charge leading the chasing group of 13 riders.
-Without Caroline I wouldn’t have made it, I wish there was a medal for her, said Norsgaard at the press conference. A crash 500 meters before the finishing line left 11 rider to sprint for silver and bronze. Pirrone could safely go for victory. Norsgaard that rode smart all the way was powerful at the end taking second place with Paternoster on third making it a great day for Italy.
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