Top ten for Rowney on the opening stage of the Tour de Feminin

Thu 7 Jul 2016

Queensland rider Loren Rowney finished in seventh place today on a lumpy stage one of the UCI 2.2 category race Tour de Feminin.

The 27-year-old was the team's designated sprinter for the day if it came down to a bunch kick, but over a short climb with 2.5kilometres to go a small group clipped off the front leading the chase towards a solo escapee.

Making the catch on the line, Ludwig (Team BSN Birn) took the victory with the others claiming the top five spots. Rowney finished just 30 seconds behind the group sprinting into a top ten placing.

"We were trying to set up a few moves in the second half of the race," explained sport director Gene Bates. "After the second Queen of the mountain a small group former with Tayler Wiles in there, but with no cohesion it came back not long after."

"It wasn't the stage result we were chasing today, but we are still in good position in the overall going into tomorrow and certainly the time trial." 

"It's actually not a bad position to be the underdogs going into stage two, and there's still four more stage to go.

"The new young girls were good today, both of them got through the stage today and they're fitting well with the rest of the team straight away. 

"Tomorrow is a short stage and features the same finishing climb as today, they go over it two times so it will be important and no doubt a fast stage."

How it happened:

A large peloton of riders assembled in the Czech Republic ahead of the opening stage of the 2016 edition of the Tour de Feminin. 

Despite an undulating 118kilometre route the peloton remained intact throughout the majority of the stage, occasionally splitting up after intermediate sprints and Queen of the mountains but with no real cohesion at the front of the race the peloton continued to regroup. 

The main action of the day came when Svetlana Vaslilieva (Russia) attacked solo and rode out to a one minute 20second lead over the peloton with only 25kilometres left to race.

The pace picked up behind and gradually the escapee was slowly coming back towards the peloton and with just 2.5kilometres to go, a short climb saw a group of riders go clear and barrel down towards the solo rider.

Ceceile Ludwig (Team BSN Birn) overcame the breakaway rider, Vaslilieva on the line to grab the stage victory into Krasna Lipa.

ORICA-AIS's highest place finisher was Rowney in seventh place, and in the second intermediate sprint Rowney picked up a useful bonus second catapulting her two places ahead to sit in fifth place overall just 40second behind the currently race leader. The team is still very much in contention heading into tomorrow's short stage, just 91kilometres. 

Tour de Feminin stage one results:

1. Ceceile Ludwig (Team BSN Birn) 3:15:45
2. Svetlana Vaslilieva (Russia) +0:02
3. Jolien D'hoore (Belgium) +0:17
7. Loren Rowney (ORICA-AIS) +0:31

General classification after stage one:

1. Ceceile Ludwig (Team BSN Birn) 3:15:35
2. Svetlana Vaslilieva (Russia) +0:06
3. Jolien D'hoore (Belgium) +0:23
5. Loren Rowney (ORICA-AIS) +0:40

Photos courtesy of Dariusz Krzywanski / Anton Vos.