CANYON//SRAM Racing have dominated the opening stage of Grácia Orlová yesterday in Štramberk. Alena Amialiusik won the stage with team mate Elena Cecchini second, and third was Ane Santesteban Gonz (ALE).
Going in as pre-race favourite, Amialiusik wasn’t fussed with the attention before the stage. “No, I just will do my best today and we see what happens. I hope that I will do well and that our team can have a victory.”
The 101km stage from Orlová to Štramberk stayed together despite several attempts over the four climbs of the day. With around 400m to go it was Cecchini who made the first move and attacked the peloton. “You know, before the race we knew that Alena was our leader. So we wanted to put her in a good position for that. Not just a good position for the final climb but in a good situation for the overall already today. I felt that we were in control today, like Beth said we need to be. There was one break that Mieke was in, but we saw immediately it was not right the constellation and would have put us into a bad position, so we closed it. I think those things are good signs for us,” said Cecchini.
The Italian national champion’s attack allowed Amialiusik to keep her effort until the steepest part of the finish climb. “In the final I attacked and I saw that no one was directly on my wheel so then I thought okay I push hard and go now because it was a good situation for Alena to then just follow,” Cecchini explained.
Amialiusik now holds a 24 second lead on the general classification ahead of team mate Cecchini. After the stage Amialiusik was satisfied. “The girls did an amazing job. After Elena’s attack then I could just sit on the wheel of Santesteban-Gonz and overtake at the end. There are still some stages to go but it’s nice to have the leader jersey now,” said Amialiusik.
Tomorrow’s mountain stage in Lichnov is at risk of a new parcours due to snow.