Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) netted her first win since becoming British Champion in 2019 and her first international victory since 2018 by holding off her rivals in a long sprint to the line on stage 3 of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana.
Barnes broke the drought by coming to the line ahead of Sheyla Gutierrez (Movistar) and Mylene de Zoete (NXTG Racing) on the 107 kilometres stage from Sagunto to Valencia after her teammates helped pull in the final breakaway.
"We knew that no one else would help the chase with me there as a sprinter,” said Barnes.
“All of the team did well to help control and then reduce the gap to the three riders. In the final ten kilometres basically Tiffany (Cromwell) and Lisa (Klein) were swapping turns and then they did the lead out and no one could come around us. I had to deliver after that. It's nice to get the win for the team too after being so close several times during the spring."
Barnes has stood on the podium a number of times since her national championship win, most recently when came second at the opening stage of the Healthy Ageing Tour behind Jolien D’Hoore (SD Worx).
After finally making it to the top step once the The 25-year-old said: “I feel relief”.
"I feel like I was expected to win today from within the team but also from the other riders in the peloton. I'm one of only a few sprinters here so it was time to show it, and also after the amazing work the team did in the final 25km, there was no other option but to win today," said Barnes.
The Spanish stage race now heads into its final stage, the queen stage, with Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) holding a lead of 2:16 over her nearest rival Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) while Movistar teammate Katrine Aalerud sits in third at 2:30.
Canyon-SRAM heads in to the 114 kilometres stage from Finestrat to Alicante with two riders in the top ten, Zwift Academy winner Neve Bradbury in sixth at 2:31 behind Van Vleuten and Hannah Ludwig in seventh, just a second further back.
However, the team said on Twitter that a number of its riders had crashed on the stage, including Klein and Cromwell, who are okay, however Bradbury had been taken to hospital for further assessment.
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