Stage 1 Women: Watopia Hilly
April Tacey (Drops) used a late power-up to win stage 1 of the women's Virtual Tour de France. The British rider timed her sprint to perfection to win ahead of Kristin Faulkner (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) and Chantal Van den Broeck-Blaak (Boels Dolmans).
American world time trial champion, Chloe Dygert (Team Twenty20) made the lead group on the final of four laps but opened her sprint too early and faded to fifth at the line.
"I just can't believe it. I'm so happy," said Tacey, the first virtual maillot jaune with 50 points from the first day of racing, after the finish. "It was really hard and everyone was giving their all."
A total of 16 teams with 64 riders started the race with four laps of the Watopia circuit set to decide the first yellow jersey of the Virtual Tour de France. Rather than time, the race is decided on points, with 50 for first place, 40 for second, 35 for third and so on. The team with the most points then holds the yellow jersey, with a nominated rider wearing it each day.
With just under 30km to go Kristen Faulkner set the pace with the bunch already reduced to less than 30 riders.
Van den Broeck-Blaak made the first significant move soon after before Erica Magnaldi (Ceratizit-WNT) led Joscelin Lowden (Drops) over the first queen of the mountains prime.
Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek Segafredo) was the next rider to attack but she was clearly aiming for the points jersey. Magnaldi used a power-up on next climb but mistimed her efforts with Lowden coming out on top before the reduced peloton came back together on the descent.
Longo Borghini went off the front again with 17km to go in order to take more points and on the penultimate climb, Lowden got the better Magnaldi once again.
The race settled once again but on the final climb, Magnaldi and Lowden went clear with a group of eight forming with just a few kilometres to go.
The remnants of the peloton made contact with just 1.3km to go but the race was destined to end in a sprint. Dygert went early but was unable to hold her power as Tacey came through the take the first ever Virtual Tour de France stage, as well as the yellow jersey.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||April Tacey (GBr) Drops||0:51:07|
|2||Kristin Faulkner (USA) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|3||Chantal Van den Broeck-Blaak (Ned) Boels Dolmans||0:00:01|
|4||Leah Dixon (GBr) Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|5||Chloe Dygert (USA) Team Twenty20|
|6||Tanja Erath (Ger) Canyon-SRAM|
|7||Heather Ludwig (Ger) Canyon-SRAM|
|8||Joscelin Lowden (GBr) Drops|
|9||Jessica Pratt (Aus) Canyon-SRAM||0:00:02|
|10||Krista Doebel-Hickok (USA) Rally Cycling|
|2||Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
|2||Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank|
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