“It feels so good, it’s amazing to know that the team believed in me and I was able to deliver. I won, I took my first win since Het Nieuwsblad 2013. It was such a nice feeling!” Tiffany was happy and excited after winning stage 4 of the Giro Rosa after a fast and hectic run into Lovere where she beat Maria Confalonieri (Lensworld-Zannata) and Aude Bionic (Poitou-Charentes.Futuroscope.86).
Stage 4 of the Giro Rosa was the last chance for a bunch sprint before the race headed to the mountains and the pre race plan was to mix things up a little within the team and see what happened. Tiff was given the opportunity to save throughout the stage and do the sprint if the race evolved that way. It wasn’t a fixed plan that the team wanted a sprint, if the right breakaway stuck and made it to the finish then the team also supported that idea.
“I am not really known as a bunch sprinter but I have developed my sprint over the last years and can be quite crafty and fast in the final with the right lead out. We have other sprinters in the team, but that’s what is nice with CANYON//SRAM racing, they give everyone in the team their opportunity to go for victory and like to mix up the tactics to be unpredictable to other teams with their race plans. When I’m given an opportunity I always try to make the most of it and it’s such a nice feeling to know that I was able to make the most of this opportunity and finish the job off by taking the stage victory.”
Tiff recalled the stage, seemingly able to do it in minute detail, “It became clear as we neared the finish that it was going to be a bunch sprint. For the entire stage I didn’t have to do anything just float in the bunch as the team shared the workload covering attacks throughout the race. As the kilometres were ticking down the team started to get together and ride compactly through the peloton. Suddenly I was thinking, ok it’s going to be a bunch sprint, I have to switch on now and be super focussed and not let the team down! They put in such a strong leadout, taking control and keeping the pace high from as early as 5km to go. It got hectic as everyone is always fighting for position and trying to take your wheel if you have a good lead out, you need to keep your elbows sharp and hold your ground.”
“The finish was a fairly straight run in along the edge of Lago d’Iseo. The team worked so hard, all taking on big turns at the front and as we passed under the 1 kilometre to go banner I still had Elena and Trixi with me. As Elena was coming to the end of her lead other teams were starting to come up on us, and Trixi and I got pushed back slightly. A small gap opened up on the right that I saw I could take to avoid getting boxed in and at the same time I saw Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High 5) starting her sprint on the left so I jumped and began my sprint. As I started my sprint, I looked up and saw the 200m to go sign and thought ‘oh no!’ I’ve gone too early! At that point you couldn’t change anything and just had to go for it, I was powering on and could see the finish line just ahead and still no one coming over me. I could almost taste the victory and in the last 50m I could feel others coming so I threw my bike to the line and I knew that I had made it across the line first at that point. You always have thoughts of what salute you are going to do when you take a victory, but it all happened so quickly and all I could manage was to get one arm in the air, but that was enough for me on this occasion!”
Going into the Giro Rosa, Tiff had always said that the GC wasn’t on the radar, but a stage win was a target and her preparation had been good. “There have been a range of factors to get me to this form. I am in a good headspace, good morale, the altitude training was tough but it worked and there’s a nice atmosphere within the team too. But in essence I put it down to happiness. When you are happy you enjoy riding your bike things just seem to flow.”
So, happiness is the secret to winning Giro Rosa stages. The stage victory was an early birthday present for Tiff as she went on to celebrate her birthday the following day on the tough slopes of the Mortirolo but she still had a smile on her face after bagging her second Giro stage of her career.
“Thanks to all the girls in the team who were both there racing and our other team mates at home not racing the Giro. A big thanks to all of our team partners, my personal supporters and everyone who didn’t lose their faith in my ability to win. It means a lot!”