Crash hampers Trek-Drops chances in Stage One
The team kicked off the 2018 race season overnight as the Santos Women's Tour Down Under began. Stage one of the traditional season opener took in an undulating route around Gumeracha in the Adelaide hills as temperatures reached a sweltering 38 degrees in overcast conditions.
Despite it's hilly nature the stage looked set to end in a bunch sprint with some of the biggest names in the sprint game looking for an early season victory. The stage took a conservative start as the sprinter's teams looked to keep the race together.
Our team stayed attentive at the front of the race throughout.
With 20km to go Rachel Neylan, who recently signed for the new Movistar Women's Team but is representing the Uni SA Team throughout the Tour Down Under, broke-away by herself. Her gap reached a maximum of 1 minute and 35 seconds as the sprinter's teams headed to the front of the peloton to reel her back in.
Without a recognised sprinter in the team we looked towards British youngster Abi van Twisk for the finish. Abi was well placed in the first intermediate sprint which took in the same technical roads as the finish would.
With 5km to go the team were well placed with Molly, Tayler and Kathrin supporting Abi in prime position on the right hand side of the road. With 2km to go, five wheels back Molly was unfortunately nudged off the road and came down leaving Abi to surf the wheels for herself.
Despite another fall in the peloton, which slightly disrupted Abi, she finished just outside the top 20, in 22nd place.
Tayler Wiles, our main GC hope, stayed out of trouble and finished in the peloton without any time gaps to the front, heading into the hillier days to come.
We're pleased to report that Molly is unharmed after her high speed fall and after the race she was proud of how the team road.
"Overall I'm really happy with how the stage went today. It was good to get the season started so early, and get to know each other as racers.
We worked well together as a unit, and it was a great feeling to have the teamwork there already.
The result was not what we hoped for, with a crash in the lead-out at 2km to go, but the fact we were up at the front end of the race is a positive sign of things to come.”
It wasn't just some of the riders making their Trek-Drops debut. New DS, Loren Rowney was in the car for the first time.
"Overall, I’m very happy with how the team rode today in tough conditions, being the first race of the season. They should be pleased with how they raced together as a unit.
For such a new composition of riders, they did brilliantly in communicating with one another, and delivering Abi to where she needed to be for the finale.
Unfortunately, crashing is part of bike racing, and we will just have another go at it tomorrow!"
Full results are listed below.
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