The new Friends Life Women’s Tour race leader Rosella Ratto said she used her brother’s stage win in the Vuelta a Espana last year to inspire to claim victory in a wet Bedford today.
Ratto is the younger sister of Cannondale rider Daniele, who soloed to win the rain-affected fourteenth stage of the 2013 Vuelta.
The Estadio de Mexico-Faren rider took the honours alongside the River Great Ouse after a 60-kilometre breakaway in inclement conditions, the first half of which was her on her own.
“This morning I was dreaming that the weather would get better and better, but it didn’t,” said the Italian.
“In the race I was thinking about my brother, who won a stage in the Vuelta last year solo in the rain. I was thinking I could do the same.”
Ratto broke clear to claim points at the Strava Queen of the Mountains climb at Brixworth, and was eventually joined by compatriot Suzanna Zorzi (Astana-BePink).
“Suzanna is one of those riders who goes flat out, always. I think she was the best rider I could have in a breakaway,” added Ratto.
“She’s just one year older [than me], we raced all our careers together. We have been room-mates; we shared when she won the European title [U23 road race] last year.
“I was about to give up when Suzanna came over, and I thought ‘why not continue?’. I saw the gap going up, and I thought maybe we could do it.”
Ratto finished third at the World Championships road race in Italy last September, but this was the 20-year-old’s first professional victory. It came in the longest stage of the inaugural Women’s Tour.
She added: “I think that the first victory is still something that is particular. The podium in the Worlds I was waiting for – I was close to winning races at the end of last year, I was almost always on the podium, but I never won.”
Her GC lead of five seconds over Zorzi and six to Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) is likely to prove insignificant given the time bonuses on offer throughout the final three stages.
“I will try, but it will not be easy,” said Ratto about a defence of the Friends Life yellow jersey.