Just 38 days ago Barbara Guarischi was having surgery on a broken left elbow after a heavy crash at La Course by Le Tour de France in Paris. Yesterday evening the 25 year old sprinted to third place in the opening stage of Boels Ladies Tour in Tiel, Netherlands.
In her first race back, after doubting she would even return this season (Guarischi also broke her shoulder in February this year), the Italian sprinter was taken under the wing of her strong team mates throughout the stage.
“We started the race meeting and Ronny Lauke (Directeur Sportif) said: Ok Baby, you do a sprint today?”
Guarischi laughed at him and said “Are you joking Ronny??!”
Ronny replied “No, come on. We do a lead out and we try our best!”
She said “You are crazy. But okay, we do it!!”
The opening stage was at a relatively slow pace with only one solo rider who tried to take an advantage. Guarischi said “For the Ladies Tour it was ‘easy and slow’ until the final kilometres. The team was all in the front for our lead out and always some people try to jump in our train, so we had to find our way a little bit. Alena (Amialiusik) did a long turn for me and then Elena (Cecchini) took over. I was behind van Dijk (DLT) and I was the first to jump out and start the sprint. The final corner was hard but I was smart to see it, change gear and I found a good line. I was a bit early at 250m to go and in the end two riders passed me.”
“I’m happy with this result because I know that my arm will get more powerful in the next weeks and I look forward to trying for a spot at Worlds in Qatar. My team mates were like a mum, always with eyes on me. I really felt that the whole race we rode blind as a team. Even with our eyes closed we knew where each other was, and this is a really nice feeling.”
The team will start stage two, the team time trial at 19:06 (CEST). Follow the racing action on the team’s Twitter @WMNcycling and using #BRLT16.