In wet conditions, the opening stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour was won in a bunch sprint by Jolien D’hoore (DLT) ahead of teammate Amy Pieters. Elena Cecchini was CANYON//SRAM Racing’s best placed rider in eleventh position.
Despite some teams keen to try for a breakaway, the peloton rolled through the 157km stage from Beccles to Stowmarket largely together. Only in the final 25km, a solo move from Abby-Mae Parkinson (DRP), was able to gain a decent advantage on the peloton. The British rider was reeled in with 3km remaining in the stage, and the Belgian sprinter, D’hoore, was delivered to the front with 150m to go, where she sprinted to a clear victory.
“We saw today that positioning in this tour is going to be key,” said Cecchini after the race.
“With these types of roads, being well-positioned can really help you save a lot of energy during the race, but is the difference also in a sprint finish.”
“There are only a few teams that don’t have a sprinter here, and they were trying to create something at various points today. In those moments, when the peloton is stretched out and it’s left, right, up, down, windy and wet, then you need to pay attention because it can always be a little bit of a dangerous situation if you’re not positioned well,” explained Cecchini.
“After four hours in the rain, the legs were hurting for everyone, even if the stage wasn’t raced that hard today.”
“I had Alice (Barnes) and Lisa (Klein) help me until around 1.5km to go. In the final corner, with 750m to go, I was too far back and when we came out of it, there was already a gap to the Boels train. I decided I had nothing to lose and started my sprint already then. That meant I spent most of my matches in the hardest part of the little rise at the finish and I had nothing left in the final 150m,” said Cecchini who crossed the line in eleventh.
“We messed it up a little bit in the end today, but the positive thing is that we’re all feeling really good and this means we can look forward to the next days,” added Cecchini.
Throughout the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, CANYON//SRAM Racing is using a special edition design across its clothing and equipment. The design is based on the Rapha Women’s 100, an annual event to inspire women all across the globe to ride 100km together on the same day, this year set for 14 September.