D’hoore returns from injury with a bang to win stage one of the Women’s TourWed 13 Jun 2018
Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore shook off all doubts about her form after returning from a broken collarbone to convincingly win the opening stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour in Great Britain.
Mitchelton-SCOTT rode a controlled race on a fast and tight first day of racing that saw plenty of attacks, but an attentive peloton refused to let anything go and sped towards the finale in a compact bunch with only one thing in mind, the sprint.
With the finish slightly uphill and against a headwind the Australian outfit executed a perfect lead out for D’hoore who kicked at the right time and sprinted clear of Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) and Coryn Rivera (Team-Sunweb) to take the stage victory and with it the race lead.
A relatively fast opening stage from Framlingham to Southwold began with the peloton marking each other closely and still a compact group over the first two intermediate sprint sections.
The pace remained high with the bunch strung out in one long line and repeated attacks came to nought as the field closed in on the coast and the finish in Southwold.
Mitchelton-SCOTT positioned themselves strongly at the front of the peloton going into the finish and dominated the battle of the lead out trains with everyone taking a turn and D’hoore launching early, but confidently to take the win.
Jolien D’hoore – Stage winner and Race leader:
“Even before today’s stage I wasn’t sure where I was at with my form, but the team had 100% trust in me and they gave me a perfect lead out going into the finish and it’s really great to start with a win, the pressure is off now.”
“The stage was pretty flat, and everyone knew that it was going to come down to a sprint, but it got pretty nervous and hectic going into the final and thankfully I was in a really good position on the last corner.
“I started my sprint a little early but managed to hold on and it worked out really well in the end. We had a plan going into the stage and we struck to it perfectly, the finish was quite tricky going into the wind and slightly uphill, but it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Sport director Martin Vestby:
“That’s a perfect start for us, we had worked a lot on our lead out at our Spanish training camp and this is the first time we have had the full team together to be able to put that work into practice and the girls executed it perfectly.”
“Most of the peloton understood early on that it was going to end up with the bunch sprint and it was a finish that we had looked at closely beforehand. The girls positioned themselves at the front at the right time, they knew exactly where to open it up and couldn’t have delivered Jolien any better.
“It’s a true team victory today and everyone was involved, we will do our best to hold onto the green jersey tomorrow, but it is a completely different stage with lots of climbing and for sure it will be tough.”
OVO Energy Women’s Tour stage one results:
1. Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) 03:14:39
2. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) ST
3. Coryn Rivera (Team-Sunweb) ST
General classification after stage one:
1. Jolien D’hoore (Mitchelton-BikeExchange) 03:14:29
2. Coryn Rivera (Team-Sunweb) +0:02
3. Marta Bastianelli (Ale-Cipollini) +0:04
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.