Mixed day for ORICA-AIS on stage one of the Aviva Women's Tour

Wed 15 Jun 2016

ORICA-AIS had a action filled day on stage one of the Aviva Women's Tour, claiming valuable points in both the mountains and points classifications but plagued by crashes and punctures in the final.

30-year-old Sarah Roy was the highest placed finisher for the team in 29th position after a crash with one kilometre to go took out Gracie Elvin and created significant splits within the peloton. Luxembourg rider Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) took the stage victory in a technical sprint into Norwich.

Despite the stage finish not going as planned, sport director Gene Bates took positives out of the day from the points gained throughout the race.

"The plan today was to work for Roy," said Bates. "We were keen for Tayler Wiles to go for the mountain points and she took some valuable points which is really great for later in the week."

"Gracie was also able to sneak some seconds in from the sprints which is good for her, it puts her in good stead, certainly for stage three which looks very difficult.

"Unfortunately Roy and the whole team had a lot of bad luck in the finish, losing our key lead out rider in Loren Rowney with three kilometres to go and also Gracie being caught out in a crash just one kilometre to go.

"This left Sarah a bit exposed and unable to finish the job off today, but it's only stage one, four more stages to go and plenty of opportunities."

How it happened:

The world's best women arrived in the UK ready for the third edition of the tour. Starting by the seafront in Southwold the teams congregated under grey, blue skies ahead of the first opening stage.

The first Queen of the mountain sprint, after just 11kilometres, saw Wiles sprint to second place taking four points to establish herself in contention in the QOM classification on a predominantly flat day with undemanding climbs.

During the first half of the race riders tried to get away with various different groups leading and being reeled back in, never gaining more than a 30second advantage.

After 55kilometres of racing it was time for the intermediate sprint were teammate Elvin also took second place securing two seconds.

Soon after as the peloton headed through the country roads in pleasant sunny conditions the twists and turns came and Elvin was unfortunately caught out in a crash along with Alexandra Manly. With no serious injuries the riders were quickly back on their bikes and chasing back onto the peloton.

The next Queen of the mountain sprint came and once again it was contested over a very low gradient with Wiles claiming third spot to secure second on the stage in the QOM classification giving her a solid start ahead of the more challenging days to follow.

Likewise Elvin claimed more seconds also finishing in third position on the second and final sprint prime of the day. 

With just 20kilometres remaining and no successful breakaway, solo rider Alison Tetrick (Cylance) took her chances attacking and rapidly grew her advantage out to 1min 53seconds with the peloton stalling behind and no teams willing to take up the chase.

With just 5km remaining the lone rider still held a sizeable advantage of 1minute and 10seconds, with the stage looking more and more likely for a solo win.

The technically fast finish came and her time suddenly had dropped significantly being caught in the closing kilometres as the peloton charged on.

Unfortunately for ORICA-AIS final lead out rider Rowney double punctured with just three kilometres to go leaving the team down to five riders.

As they navigated into Norwich centre another crash occurred at the kilometre to go mark with Elvin caught up again. The race completely split up with Roy out of position trying to claw her way back into contention for the sprint.

Tomorrow, the longest stage, is another potential sprint stage with undulating roads and harder QOM sprints along the way.

Aviva Women's Tour stage one results:

1. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans)
2. Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv)
3. Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-High5)
29. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS)

General classification after stage one:

1. Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans) 3:24:38
2. Marianna Vos (Rabo-Liv) +0:01
3. Giorga Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) 0:06
29. Sarah Roy (ORICA-AIS) +0:27