Roy sprints to 10th on stage one of the Women’s Tour

Mon 10 Jun 2019

The opening stage of the Women’s Tour came down to a bunch sprint with Australian Sarah Roy taking 10th in miserable conditions in Stowmarket.

The 33-year-old battled for position in a technical run to the line but found herself too far back to contest for the win and was forced to settle for a top-10 finish on a tough first day of racing.

Wet Roads Ahead

Wet roads greeted the riders as they rolled out of Beccles with the rain continuing to fall for the majority of the 157.6-kilometre stage one.

The weather made for a cagey start to the race with no attacks going away in the early kilometres as the peloton negotiated the tricky conditions, with standing water causing some issues on the narrow country lanes.

With nobody breaking clear, the race looked set to see some action over the two category-three climbs that came in the last 30-kilometres of the day. The bunch passed over the first of the ramps altogether, but a solo attack soon edged clear as the race passed through the finish line for the first time.

The Chase

There was then a stall in the peloton as teams scrambled to organise a chase and the gap grew out to 1’30” with 15-kilometres remaining. The lone leader managed to make it over the final climb of day ahead of the chasing pack, but the gap was tumbling rapidly as the pace was ramped up behind.

The move was finally shutdown inside the final two kilometres, with the stage victory set to be decided in the anticipated bunch sprint. Having been kept safe on the run in, Roy moved herself into position ready for the kick to the line as teams began to organise themselves for the finale.

In the end it was Jolien d'Hoore (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) who proved to the be the strongest in the sprint, with Roy crossing the line in 10th.

Sarah Roy:
“It was freezing out there today. We rode through so much water, there was a lot of rain but a lot of big puddles, so we were completely drenched and the air was icy. I struggled to use my hands they were completely numb.”

“The bunch was super tame, not surprisingly with the conditions and many more days of racing to come. The intermediate sprints were strongly contested but we stayed out of those focusing on the finish.”

"Coming into the final sprint was a bit like dodgem cars, the speed was high and riders were boxing for position. With some road furniture in the final corner and an uphill drag, I knew I needed to be in the top few wheels and I fought for it but didn’t quite make it. I tried my luck sitting on in the hope I could still have a crack but it wasn’t to be today." 

"I think we all rode well given the crazy conditions though and I can see the improvements I’ve made today but what’s really cool is to have both Georgia (Williams) and Grace (Brown) back with us in the World Tour after their injuries and illnesses and riding strong."

Women's Tour - Stage 1 Results:
1. Jolien d'Hoore (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) 4:09:12
2. Amy Pieter (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team)  ST
3. Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) ST
10. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General Classifcation After Stage 1:
1. Jolien d'Hoore (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team) 4:09:12
2. Amy Pieter (Boels - Dolmans Cycling Team)  +0:04
3. Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor Pro Cycling) +0:06
11. Sarah Roy (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:10

Photos courtesy of Getty Images