Lorena Wiebes’ highly-anticipated street racing debut with SD Worx fell aside within the closing crash-marred kilometres of stage 1 on the UAE Tour Girls. The Dutchwoman was one of many a number of sprinters and GC contenders who hit the pavement on the chaotic run-in however remarkably remounted her bike and sprinted to second place on the Dubai Harbour.
“In fact, I’m bummed about that crash as a result of that all the time takes power. I used to be introduced completely however got here up simply that little bit quick,” Wiebes mentioned.
There have been hopes of echelon motion within the crosswinds on the opening stage, however the wind wasn’t sturdy sufficient to assist open gaps for actual. As a substitute, crashes dominated the race over broad roads by means of the Dubai cityscape, together with two pile-ups within the remaining 4 kilometres.
Wiebes was one of many riders that went down with 3.8km to go however got here again to the entrance with assist from her new SD Worx teammates in time for the dash, ending runner-up behind her former teammate Charlotte Kool (Workforce DSM).
“A rider fell simply in entrance of my entrance wheel. Dodging was not possible at that pace, so I used to be introduced down. I do not suppose I’ve ever been again on my bike so shortly. A fall like that all the time takes power. I additionally really feel now that I fell, and it is going to be stiff tomorrow. The adrenaline may assist me to nonetheless win a stage within the coming days,” Wiebes mentioned.
Tereza Neumanová (Liv Racing TeqFind) was concerned in the identical crash and in addition managed to rise up shortly and return to the entrance, sprinting to sixth place in the long run.
“I used to be concerned within the crash at 4km from the end. Fortunately Thalita [De Jong} brought me back to the peloton, and I was still able to do a good sprint,” said the Czech champion.
Other sprinters were not so lucky: Tamara Dronova, Thi That Nguyen (both Israel Premier Tech-Roland), Ilaria Sanguineti (Trek-Segafredo) and Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka (Canyon-SRAM) all saw their shots at a good sprint result disappear in the blink of an eye.
Emma Norsgaard’s Movistar Team sprint train was also derailed by the last crash of the day, 2.7km from the finish.
“In the end, it was a super-messy sprint and also quite dangerous, and a big, big crash, so we were not in a position to sprint with Emma like planned. I tried to stay with the girls and in Emma’s wheel, but then it crashed, and we all lost each other. It was just really, really messy,” Norsgaard’s teammate Liane Lippert recounted the final.
Lippert won the second intermediate sprint of the day, and the three bonus seconds gave her a slight advantage in the general classification. The German champion is now fourth overall heading into stage 2 on Friday.
Several climbers that had come to the UAE for the stage 3 mountain-top finish also had their race disrupted: Claire Steels (Israel Premier Tech-Roland), Esmee Peperkamp (Team DSM), Petra Stiasny (Fenix-Deceuninck), Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) and Silvia Persico (UAE Team ADQ) all finished behind the peloton.
Longo Borghini and Persico were lucky, under the circumstances, as they went down in the last crash that was within the final three kilometres, so they did not lose time. The other four GC riders now have a 25-second deficit in GC.
Even before the final, there were a couple of crashes, often due to touches of wheels in crosswinds. Although many riders will be nursing bruises and road rash tonight, most escaped without serious injury. Matilde Bertolini (BePink) was the only rider who had to abandon the race after crashing very early in the stage and never regaining contact with the peloton.
UAE Tour Women is a sprint-heavy race with two more chances for a bunch kick – stage 2 from Al Dhafra Castle to Al Mirfa and stage 4 from Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy to Abu Dhabi Breakwater.
“I’m happy that the lead-out went well,” Wiebes said of her SD Worx train. “That gives me a lot of confidence for the coming days. Tomorrow I will go full for the win.”