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Abbott wins again, defends Giro Rosa jersey

American Mara Abbott didn’t rest on her laurels a day after her Independence Day raid in Italy. Riding for the U.S. National Team, the overall leader won her second consecutive stage at the Giro d’Italia Femminile on Friday in San Domenico.

Claudia Haüsler (Tibco-To the Top), the 2009 Giro champion, was second in the sixth stage, trailing in 24 seconds after Abbott. Cauz Francesca (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo-Calinferno) was third, at 34 seconds.

Abbott defended the pink jersey she earned in Monte Beigua on Thursday. World champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women), the 2012 Giro champion and 2013 race leader before Abbott, was seventh on the stage, at 1:39.

“What beautiful mountains you have in Italy! Thanks to my teammates I could tackle the race easily and ride at my best,” Abbott said in a press release. “Today was definitely an important stage, but Cremona is still far. We still have two more stages, and everything can change.”

With two days of racing remaining, Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Kuota) is second overall, at 2:25. Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) is third, at 2:41. Haüsler’s ride moved her into fourth overall, at 2:55.

“Mara at the moment is the best on climbs,” said Haüsler. “I’m really happy for my second position. Finally I am back with the best ones.”

U.S. National Team director Jack Seehafer said in a press release that he hoped to have a 2:30 lead in the GC before the race’s final weekend, which closes with Sunday’s individual time trial.

“Today’s race was a great, and I mean great team effort,” said Seehafer. “The ladies executed the plan by racing as a team and controlling the front until the final climb, thus allowing Mara to go to work over the final 10 kilometers. After previewing the course, we knew that it was to our advantage if we could control it until then. Mara was able to complete her job and gain more time as we knew we wanted 2.5 minutes of a lead prior to Saturday and the time trial on Sunday. It was an amazing team effort by the ladies, and all have stepped up to the level of professionalism that was asked of them.”

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