Seventh place for Van Vleuten on a rainy stage one of Festival Elsy Jacobs

Sat 30 Apr 2016

Festival Elsy Jacobs prologue winner Annemiek Van Vleuten sprinted to seventh place today during a wet, challenging stage one of the UCI race.

In a reduced bunch sprint Lotta Lepistol (Cervelo-Bigla) sprinted to the victory, one second clear of the rest, to claim a 10second bonus on the line.

This catapulted her into the race lead, stealing the jersey from Van Vleuten shoulders heading into the final stage, now sitting one second ahead of the ORICA-AIS rider on the general classification.

Sport director Gene Bates praised the ORICA-AIS team efforts working to bring the day's escapees back.

"Two riders had a strong lead today so we sent our riders to the front, but we couldn't bring them back." Bates said. "Then we had to use the whole team to chase them back and caught the two riders around eight kilometres to go."

"The girls worked really well together today and did a great job of controlling the race and bringing back so we were in contention for the finish.

"Katrin Garfoot and Annemiek were both able to finish in the front group but it is just unfortunate there was a one second gap on the finish line meaning Van Vleuten is now out of the leader's jersey.

"We will head into tomorrow's stage with nothing to lose and try everything to reclaim the jersey."

How it happened:

ORICA-AIS rolled to the start line of stage one as the new race leaders after Van Vleuten's victory in the opening prologue. 

A new course for the 2016 edition of the race awaited the riders, consisting of one large lap of around 50kilometres and short finishing laps including a tough climb each lap.

A wet, chilly day saw riders attacking to keep up the pace in the aim of getting a gap. Once the peloton hit the finishing laps two riders Carmen Small (Cervelo-Bigla) and Giorga Bronzini (Wiggle-High5) attacked and quickly established a significant lead riding out to one minute 30seconds.

At that point ORICA-AIS felt the danger and sent the whole team to the front to lead the chase, drawing back in the duo in an attempt to keep the leader's jersey.

Successfully doing so, the escapees were swallowed up with just eight kilometres remaining and the reduced peloton then shattered after a flurry of attacks. 

Around 20 riders made it to the finish line ahead of the rest including Garfoot and Van Vleuten who sprinted to a respectable seventh place. 

The stage winner Lepistol took a ten second bonus on the finish line and results proved her to finish with a time gap of one second ahead of the rest in the sprint.

The meant Lepistol claimed the race lead going into the final day just one second ahead of the ORICA-AIS rider.

The team head into tomorrow's final stage determined to fight to get the jersey back. 

Elsy Jacobs stage 1 results:

1. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) 2:31:53
2. Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) +0:01
3. Eugenia Bujak (BTC City Ljubljana)
7. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) ST

Elsy Jacobs general classification after stage 1:

1. Lotta Lepisto (Cervelo-Bigla) 2:35:48
2. Annemiek Van Vleuten (ORICA-AIS) +0:01
3. Marianna Vos (Rabo-Liv) +0:05