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Elvin sprints to third on the short opening stage of Emakumeen XXX Bira

Wed 17 May 2017

Former Australian champion Gracie Elvin sprinted to third place on today’s opening stage of Emakumeen XXX Bira.

The short 50kilometre race concluded as expected with a reduce bunch sprint. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) proved to be the quickest on the day stealing the stage win ahead of Katie Archibald (Team WNT) and Elvin.

Sport director Gene Bates was happy with the team performance and the solid opening result to begin proceeding in the five-day tour.

“Today was a good result for the team, a good start to the tour and a good confidence builder going into the next few days,” Bates said. “We thought if a move went early on and we had someone in it then we would decide if to support that or not but the main aim today was to go with Gracie in the final.”

“It is probably one of the only stages that was likely to finish with a bunch sprint, as from now on it gets pretty difficult and so the girls were happy to support her today for a sprint.

With only one categorised climb to contend with during the stage, the peloton remained mostly intact for the majority of the day. ORICA-SCOTT put the pressure on over the climb to whittle down the group leaving around 30riders to contests the sprint for victory.

“The team rode well they really focussed on the process of delivering Gracie to the line as best they could,” continued Bates. “There was a short sharp climb 10kilometres from the finish and the team did a really good job of splitting the group and making it the reduced situation for the finish, which we were obviously really happy with.”

“I think third place is really good, Gracie isn’t a pure sprinter we know she is a lot more versatile than that and I think it goes a long way for her confidence, especially going into the Women’s Tour of Britain next month were she will target quite heavily.”

How it happened:

The opening stage of the five-day Basque tour was a short predominately flat 50kilometre road stage. The peloton stayed together for the first 40kilometres of the race with a fairly flat simple race route.

As the riders arrived at the only categorised climb of the day after 40kilometres, the pace increased with Annemiek van Vleuten crossing the summit in second place and the peloton significantly reduced.

Around 30riders remained at the head of the race as they made their way over the climb and descended towards the finish line with just 10kilometres to go.

Eventually a chase group of 10riders made the junction to the first group inside the final three kilometres ready to contest the group sprint.

The team worked to support Elvin with Van Vleuten also holding on for a top 10 result with sixth place, which keeps her in contention overall. Elvin now sits in third place overall, six seconds down with four more stages remaining.

Emakumeen XXX Bira stage one results:

1. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) 1:17:38
2. Katie Archibald (Team WNT) ST
3. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-SCOTT) ST 

General classification after stage one:

1. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) 1:28
2. Katie Archibald (Team WNT) +0:04
3. Gracie Elvin (ORICA-SCOTT)  +0:06

Photo courtesy of ©TDWsport.com

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