Christine Majerus continued Boels-Dolmans' dominance of the inaugural women’s WorldTour. Her victory on the opening stage of the Aviva Women’s Tour is the ninth victory for the Dutch team at the sport’s highest level. The team is surging ahead in the overall wins tally on the women’s calendar with 21 wins compared to their nearest rivals Wiggle-High5, who are on 21.
After world champion Lizzie Armitstead, Chantal Blaak and Megan Guarnier, she is the fourth member of the squad to snatch a WorldTour win. Majerus had two of those working for her on today's stage to Norwich, and she felt the burden to deliver the goods.
"It was a big relief for me because there is some pressure today being the leader for that final 300 metres. I had some of the best cyclists in the world riding for me today so I needed to win. I had no excuse. It was a big relief and obviously I'm really happy to have this jersey again. Last year, I had it for one day, and it's nice to have," she said, wearing the yellow of the race leader.
"This is one of the biggest races on the calendar, and it moved up to the WorldTour this year, so this is my first WorldTour win, which makes things even better. We're all motivated to keep winning. Everyone wants to show that we're still there with different riders so that's cool."
The victory caps off a strong run by Majerus in recent weeks. Recent results include a victory at La Classique Morbihan at the end of last month and second places at Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan Dames and the Flanders Diamond Tour. It is her second win at the Women's Tour following a stage win in last year's event.
A shot at victory almost slipped through her hands when Alison Tetrick (Cyclance Pro Cycling) slipped off the front with just over 20 kilometres to go. The peloton took some time to begin their chase, by which time Tetrick had built up an advantage of almost two minutes. It came down to the wire, with Majerus having to make her move early to ensure she caught Tretrick before the line.
"I could see her coming up so I knew that I had to launch my sprint or otherwise we wouldn't make it. It was a brave move, and she was going really quickly in the last 10km, so I'm happy that we were able to bring her back," explained Majerus. "As this was supposed to be the easiest stage of the week, we expected it to come down to a sprint.
"We had a look at it yesterday, and it's really technical and hectic. The plan was to lead me into the final corner, and the team did a great job because I didn't have to do anything for the whole stage. I just had to save my legs for the last 300 metres, and I'm glad that I could finish it off."
Majerus goes into stage two with a solitary second's lead over Marianne Vos (Rabo Liv). With a much tougher parcours set for the days ahead, keeping her yellow jersey will be a difficult ask.
"It's supposed to be harder so we will see. We have got a really good team with some climbers, so I'm not worried about the team performance. I've got the jersey, and I will do everything I can to keep it. If some of my teammates can have it, then that would be great."
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