Francesca Lollobrigida (ITA) surprised the pack and herself when she pulled off a breakaway win in the Ladies Mass Start that gives her a clear lead in the World Cup rankings.
Lollobrigida set up her breakaway with compatriot Francesca Bettrone. Guo joined in and the three built a big gap while the pack was being patient. Although Bettrone could not keep up the pace, Lollobrigida and Guo stayed out of sight and Kim was left to win the sprint of the pack.
“We did not intend to escape from the peloton,” Lollobrigida said after her victory.
“The plan was to grab the points in the first intermediate sprint together, but then we had a gap so I said, ‘Ok, let’s go.’
“The other Francesca (Bettrone) is more of a sprinter and at one point she told me to go on and then I was alone with the Chinese girl (Guo).
“At first I was a little bit angry with Guo, because she took the points in an intermediate sprint while I was leading the breakaway. That’s not how you should do it if you want to cooperate to make the breakaway work, so I was screaming, ‘Go, go, go.'
“After that she also took the lead for a few laps so that was OK and in the end I was stronger.”
For Lollobrigida the breakaway was unknown territory.
“I’ve never been in a breakaway like that, usually I’m more of a sprinter. This felt more like a five-kilometer race, but it was fun.”
After the Salt Lake City World Cup, Lollobrigida and her well-earned gold medal will be off to Rome to spend some time with her family before she starts her Olympic preparation.
“I live in Heerenveen so I haven’t been home since the beginning of August. I just want to go home for Christmas, because my mum is sick and she’s being treated with chemotherapy at the moment. She’s alone with papa and that’s not easy for me.”
With 220 points, Lollobrigida leads the Mass Start World Cup rankings. Claudia Pechstein (GER), who came eighth in Salt Lake City, is second with 152 points and Guo is third with 146 points.