The first road stage of the Simac Ladies Tour ended in a massive upset to Dutch sprinting as Elisa Balsamo snatched victory from Lorena Wiebes (SD Worx) and Charlotte Kool (DSM-Firmenich). With the seconds she secured in the opening prologue and bonus seconds on the line, Kool was able to hold onto her overall lead, but only by two seconds ahead of Balsamo.
How it happened
- The biggest break of the day was only three riders, and with a fast finish on the menu, they were kept close and eventually were brought back with 27.5 km to go. One rider from the break Femke de Vries of GT Krush RebelLease tried to hold off the chase but was caught within 10 km of the finish.
- Even though a break was clearly doomed Quinty Ton (Liv Racing TeqFind) and Christina Schweinberger (Fenix-Deceuninck) still tried, staying out ahead of the peloton only momentarily.
- The sprint was a hectic one, with SD Worx, DSM-Firmenich, Uno-X and Lidl-Trek all trying to set their sprinters up for success. The rainbow jersey on the back of Lotte Kopecky could be seen sending it into the final bend for Wiebes.
- Ilaria Sanguineti locked herself onto the wheel of Wiebes and as soon as Kopecky came around the final corner she launched her sprint, taking Balsamo passed the two SD Worx riders. Wiebes was forced to start her sprint early while Balsamo was still behind her lead-out woman, so by the time the Italian launched, she had more power left to secure victory.
Brief stage results
GC standings after Stage 1
Quote of the day
It was a beautiful work of teamwork to get Balsamo into perfect position to best the two top sprinters in the women’s peloton. The UCI’s Best Young Rider could be seen setting the pace into the final kilometre, but it was longtime friend of Balsamo Sanguineti who delivered the former world champion to the line.
My teammates were unbelievable so I am extremely happy. I just want to say thank you to all of them. It was an amazing leadout, especially [Sanguineti]. It was a really hard season for me coming back from a bad crash so to win again is just unbelievable.Balsamo after the victory
- Balsamo crashed heavily into the back of the team car in the first stage of RideLondon earlier this year. The accident took months to come back from, and even when she did return to the peloton for the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. In France, she struggled, and eventually abandoned the race ahead of the seventh stage. At the Tour of Scandinavia, she started to show signs of her former strength, finishing second on the first stage behind Wiebes and third on the final stage. The win in Gennep is a big one for the young Italian, who won the elite Worlds road title in 2021.
Up next: Stage 2 ITT
The peloton heads to Belgium for the second stage, a short time trial that will take place in Leuven, where Balsamo won her elite road title over Marianne Vos. It is a “home town” ish race for the current world champion Kopecky, the first WorldTour race when the Belgian woman is wearing her rainbow bands.
The course is one for the ITT specialists, and to get a good idea of who will succeed take a peak at the prologue results. Track riders will be salivating at an opportunity to take a stage, but it’s Riejanne Markus who will truly be the one to watch out for. The Dutch ITT champion was second behind Kool in the opening prologue. Annemiek van Vleuten will also give the stage her best shot, the last time trial of her lengthy and glorious career.
The stage can be watched live on GCN+ at 12:30 CEST.
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