Mara Abbott blasted ahead in the toughest mountain stage of the Giro della Toscana - Memorial Michela Fanini to clinch Team Columbia’s third win of a possible four. Overall, team-mate Judith Arndt remains in the lead.

At the end of the 122 kilometre stage on Thursday, Abbott charged away some two kilometres from the summit of the Volterra climb for a solo win.

“It was wonderful, Judith was in the break with me, giving me advice, telling me what to do and I attacked when she yelled at me over the race radio ‘go, go, go.’” Abbott said afterwards.
“It was so good to be able to have my team-mates there, giving me so much support.”

“So I went for it, I was feeling confident because I’d been doing some good rides in training before the race and I knew I was in good shape. I knew the climb, too, from one previous race, so that meant I had some idea of what was in store for me even if I didn’t know it brilliantly. Plus the weather was cool and cloudy, which made it nicer for racing.”

“But I wasn’t sure what kind of margin was by the finish so I had no idea whether I was going to win until I got across the line. It was fairly close though. I did have time to lift my arms when I won, but only one of them because the climb was so steep!”

Abbott said the whole team had done a great job working throughout on the stage, praising Emilia Fahlin for doing “so much stuff covering moves early on. But really this was one of those days where team-work made all the difference.”

Abbott’s victory follows a win for Columbia in the opening team time trial and Ina Teutenberg’s first place on the second sector of stage two. Overall, Columbia have held the leader’s jersey since the first day, first with Linda Villumsen and then with Judith Arndt.

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