Roy sprints to 10th as the rain falls on the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire

Fri 3 May 2019

Australian Sarah Roy got amongst the sprint finale on the opening stage of the Tour de Yorkshire as she took 10th place in the final kick for the line in Bedale.

The 33-year-old was moved into position by her Mitchelton-SCOTT teammates who had worked hard to reel in a stubborn breakaway in the closing kilometres, but the double Women’s Tour stage winner founder herself boxed-in in the dash for the line.

Miserable Conditions

Rainy conditions greeted the riders when they rolled out of Barnsley with 132-kilometres on the menu as the peloton made their way to the finish in Bedale. It was a cagey start to the day with several failed attacks coming and going inside the opening 30-kilometres.

Two riders did eventually edge clear and opened up an advantage of over two minutes with the bunch seemingly content to let a move go down the road with 90-kilometres of the day remaining.  

As the race passed over the Cote de Lindley four riders bridged across to the duo to create a breakaway of six on the approach to the next intermediate sprint in Harrogate. The six contested the sprint and then set about trying to hold off the peloton that had upped the pace behind.

Cat and Mouse

The bunch were taking their time to organise a coherent chase and the advantage of the escapees stretched back out to over two minutes with 30-kilometres to go. As the tempo slowed attacks began to roll out of the peloton and Mitchelton-SCOTT were alert to the moves with Annemiek van Vleuten and Moniek Tenniglo covering the attacks.

But with nothing sticking, the pace slowed once more, giving the break a glimmer of hope that they could keep the bunch at bay. With no organised chase, Mitchelton-SCOTT moved to the head of the peloton to drag back the escapees and with eight kilometres remaining the six leaders were in sight.

They were eventually reeled back in inside the final three kilometres as the teams with sprinters in their ranks began to amass at the head of the peloton. Roy was moved into position under the flamme rouge before sprinting to 10th in the kick for the line as Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) took the win.     

Sarah Roy:
“The conditions were what we expected here today, one of the coldest races so far this year and raining. But even with the poor weather there were still huge crowds, that’s the awesome thing about racing in the UK, they get the school kids involved and every school we pass during the stage line the street and cheer super loud and we love it!"

“With the small break up the road with around a two minute lead, the team stuck to our plan and we had a hit out around 120-kilometres in some of the narrower roads, but we quickly realised there wasn’t enough wind to make much of an impact. The Trek-Segafredo girls attacked a fair bit so with that and the speed of the peloton the break was brought back about three kilometres before the line.”

“For the sprint we decided during the race that Vleuty would lead me out in the final kilometre. It was quite a fast and big bunch but no technical turns. Vleuty took me up to a good spot with about 500-metres to go in what I thought was a huge effort, so I didn’t expect anything more of her. I looked for another good wheel but there seemed to be a few reversing out of there and I didn’t navigate myself through it very well, getting a little stuck and braking in the final few hundred metres.”

Tour de Yorkshire Stage 1 Results:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) 3:35:24
2. Christine Majerus (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) ST
10. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

Tour de Yorkshire General Classification after Stage 1:
1. Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) 3:35:24
2. Christine Majerus (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) +0:03
14. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10

Photo courtesy of Getty Images.