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Roy sprints to fourth place on the opening stage of the Santos Women’s Tour

Thu 11 Jan 2018

The opening stage of the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour saw the sprinters go head to head in Gumeracha with Mitchelton-SCOTT rider Sarah Roy narrowly missing out on the podium, finishing in fourth spot.

The hot day saw no breakaway attempts survive until a late solo move from Rachel Neylan (UniSA) stirred things up for the sprinters. Mitchelton-SCOTT saw the danger and sent former criterium champion Jess Allen to the front to lead the chase and Neylan was finally swallowed up with just three kilometres to go, before Nettie Edmondson (Wiggle-High5) sprinted to the stage one victory.

Handling the heat

With many international teams on the start line, the Australian summer heat added to the difficulty of the stage for many riders. With temperatures reaching 35degrees and not much shade out on the course, the peloton remained steady and all together for the first lap with only a handful of breakaway attempts. World time trial champion Annemiek van Vleuten was hard at work collecting bottles for her teammates throughout the stage to avoid potential dehydration. 

Testing the field

After 70kilometres of racing, the Australian outfit decided to get together and try and break up the peloton, making a big effort as the race turned right into a crosswind section. This caused the peloton to string out with a few riders dropped but with the wind not strong enough the race remained together once again.

Solo break

The second and final Queen of the Mountain sprint saw the peloton break up a little and soon after former teammate, Rachel Neylan (Team UniSA), quickly opened up a dangerous solo lead over the peloton. She hovered around one minute 30seconds ahead for the final 15kilometres, but despite her efforts the stage concluded with a bunch sprint.

Sarah Roy - Fourth place finisher

“It was a really hot day, and a nervous day in the peloton with it being the first race of the year. Our team did a really great job, we stuck together and had a good go at the finish but didn’t quite nail the sprint today and I ended up top five.”

“We are taking it day by day, tomorrow is a new day, it’s a uphill finish and it is suppose to be a bit cooler so I think we will see a lot more action. It should be a really good stage for Amanda Spratt or Lucy Kennedy.”

Amanda Spratt - 2017 defending champion 

“To begin with it was easy today for the first lap today, but on the second lap we knew there had been wind so if the opportunity presented its self then we were prepared to try and split it up, which we did.”

“We knew it would probably end in a sprint today and we were 100% committed to backing Roy. When Neylan got a big gap we knew it was dangerous and actually not that many sprinters teams where willing to help us today to bring it back. 

“Wiggle-High5 came up to the front and began to help us so we really appreciated that and were able to bring her back and that actually set us up well for the sprint.

"I think overall we raced well today as a team and the next two days are the big general classification days and that's been my bug focus coming into this week.”

1. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle-High5)
2. Georgia Bronzini (Cylance Pro Cycling)
3. Lauretta Hanson (UniSA) 
4. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT)

Photo courtesy of TDWsport

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