April Tacey stunned more established riders from the Women's WorldTour to give her Drops team a huge boost by winning the first-ever stage of the women's Virtual Tour de France. The win gave Tacey a taste of her first Tour de France maillot jaune, too, with her team leading the points race on day one.
The 19-year-old beat Kristin Faulkner (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) and Chantal Van den Broeck-Blaak (Boels Dolmans) with a powerful sprint to the line to take the win and show that the British domestic team had come a long way after facing close towards the end of the 2018 campaign.
The team only survived thanks to donors and cash raised through a crowdfunding campaign after then-partner Trek decided to leave and set up their own squad.
Tacey, who only joined the team at the end of last year, was left almost speechless after her impressive and well-deserved win and while the victory took place online rather than on the road, its impact for a team like Drops cannot be overstated.
The Virtual Tour de France was streamed online via Youtube with all of the regular Tour de France broadcasters also showing the action from Zwift's Watopia world.
"It's a massive win for us as a team," Tacey said in her winner's press conference.
"It's given us great coverage in winning the first ever women's Virtual Tour de France stage. It's amazing. It's great for our team and it will be good to repay all our sponsors for all of the help that they've given us."
In truth, Drops were thoroughly deserving of their win, with Joscelin Lowden proving a consistent performer on the climbs. She did enough to help move the team into the Queen of the Mountains jersey on a huge day for the British team.
"You just have to keep your power high and that helps you get over the hills a bit easier. On the turbo it's all about watts-per-kilo as well," Tacey said after the race.
"At about half-way to go, I think it was the last KOM, me and my teammate Joscelin went for the Queen of the Mountains together. She got first and I got third and then I had an aero boost, so thought I'd save it.
"With 300m to go my brother clicked the power-up for me and I just gave it my all. Full gas. This gives us a massive confidence boost for the rest of the. I can't believe it, still."
The women's Virtual Tour de France continues on Sunday with a 29.5km stage on Watopia Mountain.
Maillot jaune.🟡Maillot a pois rouges.🔴Maillot blanc.⚪️#ColourTheRoad #CannondaleFamily#TDF2020 #TDFVirtual #TrustInToValue pic.twitter.com/bav98iqSuoJuly 4, 2020
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