UAE Tour Women: Lorena Wiebes wins stage 1 in expected bunch sprint

SD Worx-Protime rider looks as dominant as ever following a strong lead-out by world champion Lotte Kopecky

Clock12:29, Thursday 8th February 2024
Lorena Wiebes looks almost unstoppable in bunch sprints, especially in the absence of Charlotte Kool

© Sprint Cycling Agency

Lorena Wiebes looks almost unstoppable in bunch sprints, especially in the absence of Charlotte Kool

Lorena Wiebes won stage 1 of the UAE Tour after a magnificent lead-out from SD Worx-Protime teammate and world champion, Lotte Kopecky. It was Wiebes' first race of the season but she picked up where she left last season, as the peloton's dominant sprinter.

Behind Wiebes, dsm-firmenich PostNL finished second through Rachele Barbieri, which was a strong result following the withdrawal of Charlotte Kool from the UAE Tour on the eve of the race. In third place was UAE Team ADQ's Chiara Consonni.

Throughout the stage, Yanina Kuskova (Tashkent City Women Professional Cycling Team) and the Top Girls Fassa Bortolo duo of Alice Palazzi and Gaia Segato all went on the attack, but none were able to make their moves stick to the business end of the stage.

Carina Schrempf (Fenix-Deceuninck) looked to go one better than her Tour de Romandie performance last year, which left her with an agonising second-place finish. The Austrian national champion attacked alone with 2km to go and provoked some panic within the pack, though she was caught with 750m to ride.

In the sprint, no rider could match the acceleration of Wiebes, nor the lead-out prowess of Kopecky.

Wiebes will now lead the race heading into stage 2, which looks set to be another bunch sprint and an opportunity for the 24-year-old to double up.

"It feels great to win directly the first race you do, it is a great feeling and a really good lead-out by the team," Wiebes told Eurosport at the finish.

"It was a big chaos in the final because of the straight before the corner, but I still had Barbara [Guarischi] and Lotte in front of me going into the corner and they delivered me perfectly. We planned to be on the right side [of the road] as much as possible, out of the wind for a long time, so the others had to sprint into the wind."

Elisa Longo Borghini hits the deck

Although the stage lacked excitement for much of the day, there was some unwelcome panic for Lidl-Trek with a little over 50km to ride. After a clip of wheels in the peloton on a wide highway, reigning champion Elisa Longo Borghini came down in a crash, whilst teammate Gaia Realini was also held up in the commotion.

The pair were quickly back up and safely tucked inside the peloton, but Longo Borghini had to change her bike and was visibly trying to shake the pain out of her wrist and arm.

Once things had settled down and live coverage had begun with 48km to ride, Tashkent City Women attacked from the bunch through Yanina Kuskova. Although her first move did not last, the rider from Uzbekistan soon joined forces with Top Girls Fassa Bortolo's Gaia Segato at the front of the race.

Happy with the makeup of this breakaway, the peloton led by SD Worx-Protime, Movistar and EF Education-Cannondale allowed the gap to the leading duo to grow to over a minute. It was only with a little over 30km to ride that the pace began to ramp up again in advance of the second and final intermediate sprint.

Sprint finish in Dubai Harbour

To little surprise, the two-rider breakaway was caught shortly after the sprint, in which Lotte Kopecky took third place for SD Worx-Protime, and with it, one bonus second.

A big crash occurred with 13.4km to go that brought down Claire Steels (Movistar), Femke Markus (SD Worx-Protime) and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar), amongst others. Steels was brought back to the group by her team just a few kilometres later, and a sprint finish awaited by Dubai Harbour.

Kopecky was the first rider to open up a dedicated lead-out, and she was rewarded for her work. UAE Team ADQ’s Chiara Consonni looked to benefit from the back of the SD Worx-Protime train, as did dsm-firmenich PostNL’s Rachele Barbieri, but once Wiebes took flight, her acceleration was impregnable.

The Dutchwoman opened up a gap of more than a bike length between herself and her rivals, allowing her to sit up and celebrate the victory in advance of the line.

Race Results

1

nl flag

WIEBES Lorena

Team SD Worx-Protime

2H 59' 11"

2

it flag

BARBIERI Rachele

Team dsm-firmenich PostNL

"

3

it flag

CONSONNI Chiara

UAE Team ADQ

"

4

au flag

BAKER Georgia

Liv AlUla Jayco

"

5

ca flag

COLES-LYSTER Maggie

Roland

"

6

fr flag

FORTIN Valentine

Cofidis Women Team

"

7

es flag

RUIZ PEREZ Laura

Movistar Team

"

8

it flag

COLLINELLI Sofia

Roland

"

9

be flag

KOPECKY Lotte

Team SD Worx-Protime

"

10

fr flag

COPPONI Clara

Lidl-Trek

"

Provided by FirstCycling

Major Races

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29 Jun - 21 Jul

fr flag

Tour de France

2.UWT

2 Mar

it flag

Strade Bianche

1.UWT

2 Mar

it flag

Strade Bianche

1.WWT

4 Mar - 10 Mar

it flag

Tirreno-Adriatico

2.UWT

3 Mar - 10 Mar

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Paris-Nice

2.UWT

Provided by FirstCycling

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