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Linda Melanie Villumsen wins finale, takes title at Route de France

For a change, Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) did not win the stage on Saturday at the Route de France.

That honor went to teammate Linda Melanie Villumsen, who bridged to an attack by Evelyn Stevens (U.S. National Team) and left her behind to win the 130.2km seventh stage from Cusset to Chauffailles in dominating fashion. Elizabeth Armitstead (Boels Domans) took the field sprint ahead of Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini Giordana) at 5:53 back.

“It’s been really hard because the courses haven’t been that challenging, really,” Villumsen said. “Everyone’s been trying for a short while, but it’s been a really fast race and hard to get away for any team. Today it was just that bit harder, and that made the difference.”

Bronzini, who won every other stage save the prologue, setting a record in the process, finished 34rd in the finale, 9:44 down.

Villumsen’s large stage-winning margin gave her the final overall victory by 5:52 over Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS), who had held the lead since winning the prologue. Last year’s champ, Stevens, rounded out the podium in third at 5:57.

“I felt bad for not winning the prologue,” Villumsen said. “I had the whole team in the car behind me, yelling the whole way. It was really cool, but then I just missed out. But now it’s all made up for it, to have the victory today.”

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