After a long breakaway, Kristen Faulkner (Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) took a narrow victory on stage 1 of the Ladies Tour of Norway, but the opening stage of the women’s WorldTour race also saw two major crashes that impacted the race.
Halfway through the stage, some twenty riders went down in the peloton, and in the finale, six riders crashed with two kilometres to go, holding up two more.
This second crash, in a right-hand corner, played a role in how the race ended as the first rider to go down, Canyon-SRAM’s Mikayla Harvey, was riding in 12th position in the chasing peloton. Several other riders had only just kept their bikes upright through the turn, with one rider overshooting the corner and riding over the grass returning to the road.
As six riders crashed and many others had to slow down to avoid crashing themselves, the chase of the peloton was disrupted at a crucial moment when Faulkner was less than 15 seconds ahead. Since Faulkner won the stage by only one bike length on the surging sprinters, this may well have made the difference.
When Harvey’s rear wheel slipped out, it started a chain reaction with Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), Jeanne Korevaar (Liv Racing), and Elena Cecchini (Team SD Worx) all crashing in a similar manner.
In the attempt to avoid riding into the downed riders, Leah Thomas (Movistar Team) and Marta Cavalli (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) got entangled with each other and fell but both were quickly up again. Christine Majerus checked on her teammate Cecchini, who had slid a fair distance across the asphalt, before continuing, and Coryn Rivera (Team DSM) was also held up.
Since the crash happened on the last three kilometres of the race, all eight riders were given the same time as the group they were in at the time of the crash and lost no time to the rest of the peloton.
Fortunately, none of them suffered major injuries, and they should all be ready to start the second stage.
In the first crash, Marjolein van’t Geloof (Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur) had to abandon and was taken to hospital while the other riders, including Van’t Geloof’s teammate Joss Lowden, Lucy Kennedy, Urska Zigart (both Team BikeExchange), Sabrina Stultiens, Alison Jackson, Evy Kuijpers (all Liv Racing), Eri Yonamine, Diana Peñuela, Nina Kessler (all Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), Alice Maria Arzuffi, Chiara Consonni (both Valcar-Travel & Service), Anouska Koster, Julie van de Velde (Team Jumbo-Visma), Ursa Pintar (Alé BTC Ljubljana), Anne Dorthe Ysland, Mari Hole Mohr (both Team Coop-Hitec Products), and Sanne Cant (Plantur-Pura) were able to finish the stage, with Cant and Lowden even finishing in the top-20.
Van’t Geloof’s team announced after the stage that X-rays had shown no fractures.
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