Barbara Guarischi has sprinted to second place today in stage one of the Lotto Belgium Tour in Moorslede, Belgium. After a great lead out from her CANYON//SRAM Racing team mates, the Italian sprinter was narrowly beaten by Lucinda Brand (RLT), with Marianne Vos (RLT) further back in third.
Alexis Ryan won the sprint jersey after her 50km solo breakaway earned her two intermediate sprint bonuses. Ryan went clear after team mate Mieke Kröger launched a solo move a few kilometres earlier, before the only cobbled section of the race. After leading for much of the race, Ryan was caught in the last 30km on the small local laps in Moorslede. The team then committed to Guarischi for the sprint who was beaten by half a wheel in the fast sprint finish.
Lisa Brennauer is the team’s best placed rider on the general classification, +10 seconds behind tour leader Brand going into tomorrow’s 106km second stage in Lierde.
Barbara Guarischi: There was nothing wrong today. Everything was right except for the final win. We moved in the race well together. That was made easier by Alexis’ work. When the team decided to sprint for me, everyone believed it. I felt safe behind them and I knew that they would bring me to the last point. Tiff was my last rider, she took the last corner great. When I started I saw the wheel of Brand next to me. I pushed hard and did the best I could. Last week in Holland Ladies Tour I was beaten in the sprint by bike lengths, and today was half a wheel so it’s a good sign.
Lisa Brennauer: In general it was a little bit of a weird race. It wasn’t always fast and the peloton seemed to be moving around a lot. At the start we were always in the mix and we tried something ourselves. After Alexis went away we tried to control it in the back and be ready in case a new situation happened. On the final circuits, out of the third intermediate sprint for the bonus seconds, there was a group created and I was in it. It had many of the GC riders and it was good that I was in present and ready.
In general I think we did a good job today as the team. We were always on top of things. The group worked well together and we shared the workload. We decided to go for Barbara in the sprint. In the final lap Hannah was in a small break. And then Mieke jumped across to it. But RaboLiv closed it and once we got to 4km to go our team found each other and did a lead out for Barbara. I think it was a really good decision because our lead out was strong and in the end there were only a few people sprinting for the win. That’s a sign of a good lead out.
Mieke Kröger: We tried some attacks in the beginning. We went solo two times, once with myself and then later with Alexis. Hannah had just been away in a small group but it was immediately brought back. I just had a feeling, I had speed and so I took the situation and attacked again myself. When Alexis was away it was a good situation for us. We could recover and stay relaxed in the bunch. When it was brought back we were all present at the front and shared the work. It was a good effort.
Tiffany Cromwell: I personally felt better than I thought I would. I covered moves where I could. I took Barbara through the last part of the lead out and left her at about 125m to go. I think it was a good team race. For the majority of it we were all over everything and it felt like we were in control.
Hannah Barnes: I did an attack after the cobbled section but our group was short-lived. Once Alexis was away we had an easy ride in the peloton. It was more aggressive in the smaller laps. Just before the final 9km lap, three riders went away and so I attacked and went across to them. We were a small group and worked together but we were caught back around 5km to go. When the peloton caught us I just went to the front and did my part of the lead out for as long as I could because I heard Lisa tell me in the radio her and Barbara were behind me. It was a good effort from our team.
Alexis Ryan: Hannah had been dangling off the front after the cobbled section and when the peloton rolled up on her I just had a gut feeling that I should go. So I went. No one came with me which I was disappointed about. But I committed and just rode hard. At one point I had a gap of 1 minute 40 and the whole time I was away it meant my team mates could conserve energy. Later when another rider joined me on the local circuits it was good because I could have some recovery and ride a faster pace.
Then a five rider group with Lisa came over and not long later the peloton was there and we were caught. It was a good strong effort. Once the field came back together it was aggressive. Then the girls did a good lead out for Barbara. I think we can be proud of how we rode, we had a huge impact on the way the race played out and we can take some motivation for the next two days for a win.