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Abbott attacks to solo win, Giro race lead

American takes solo victory, pink jersey

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American Mara Abbott made her full return to the sport she once dominated on Thursday, winning the fifth stage of the Giro Ciclistico d’Italia Femminile and taking the overall leader’s pink jersey. Abbott (U.S. National Team) attacked from a breakaway with countrywoman Evelyn Stevens (Specialized-lululemon) to ride solo to the finish and pull on pink for the first time since her 2010 overall win in the most prestigious women’s stage race in the world.

Francesco Cauz (Top Girls Fassa Bortolo) was second, at 1:44. Fabiana Luperini (Faren-Kuota) was third, at 1:49.

Abbott’s attack distanced overnight leader and defending champion Marianne Vos (Rabobank Women).

“The only tragedy of racing the Giro is that you’re not home on July 4. What better way to celebrate than to win it?” Abbott said in a press release from USA Cycling. “I really can’t say enough about my teammates.”

With three days remaining, Abbott leads Tatiana Guderzo (MCipollini-Giordana) by 1:27. Luperini is third overall, at 1:34. Vos is now seventh overall, at 3:20.

“I’m going to try to protect this lead with the help of my teammates,” said Abbott. “They have been great so far. They’ve done everything that’s been asked of them. I have confidence that they will continue to give everything until the end.”

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