How the race finished
Blanka Vas (SD Worx) took her first pro win after Elise Chabbey (Canyon//Sram Racing) dominated the race with a brave solo ride marking a sombre week in Swiss Cycling. Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) took second across the line, with Eleonora Gasparrini (UAE Team ADQ) in third.
Full results are available below.
How it happened
With the tragic passing of Gino Mäder yesterday following a crash in the men’s Tour de Suisse in their hearts, the women’s peloton lined up for the opening stage of their race in the peaceful vineyards of Weinfelden. Under clear evening skies, each carried with them thoughts of Gino, his family, friends and teammates.
The relatively short but hilly circuit set the scene for aggressive racing. Passing through the first intermediate sprint banner, Elise Chabbey launched for the sprint and kept going, looking around a few seconds later to realise that she had no company and a good gap. Putting her head down to make the most of her advantage, Chabbey quickly pulled out over a minute on the chasing peloton.
On the opening lap, Jayco-AlUla and Trek-Segafredo were attentive in front, but the size of the bunch indicated it was still a comfortable pace. As the road headed upward the gap came down, and SD Worx also did a little work to hold the pace. As she went under the finish line banner for the first time, Chabbey held a slender lead of only 25 seconds. Sensing an opportunity, Jayco-AlUla sent Jess Allen up the road to attempt to bridge across to the solo Chabbey. After initially making good inroads, the major climb on the lap came a little too quickly for Allen, who found herself reeled back in.
This time it was Team DSM’s turn to hold the pace at the front, but with 35km left to race Chabbey had extended her lead back out to 50 seconds. With Clara Koppenburg (Cofidis) on the front leading into a steep pitch, Brodie Chapman (Trek-Segafredo) launched a searing attack, but she was closely tracked by Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon//Sram Racing). The attacking caused a big split near the front, with a reduced peloton forming. Once on the flatter roads, the bunch swelled again. Still, Chabbey held her gap.
On the next climb a small group formed off the front again, but as the race came across the finish line to start the final lap, the pressure had gone out and things had come back together again. With indecision in the bunch as to who was responsible for chasing down Chabbey, attacks started to fly. Brodie Chapman went again, with Reusser, Marta Jaskulska (Liv Racing TeqFind) and Alexandra Manly (Jayco AlUla) on her wheel. It looked momentarily like the four might go clear, but the bunch closed the move down. Next to attack was Women’s World Tour Leader Demi Vollering (SD Worx), and this time Chapman jumped across to her wheel. Behind them, the peloton strung out in desperation, but again, no one got away.
Within the closing ten kilometres, SD Worx decided to commit their team to the chase, putting first Niamh Fisher-Black, and then Marlen Reusser and Demi Vollering to work on the front. Blanka Vas tucked in on their wheel, the first indication that they might be looking to set her up for a bunch sprint.
After the gap yoyo-ed back and forth desperately, Chabbey was finally caught on a small rise with 2.6km to go. The dream of a solo swiss stage winner wasn’t to be. She immediately tucked herself into the chasing bunch, looking to consolidate her GC position with the bonus seconds she had picked up throughout the race.
The bunch, however, were not content to wait for a sprint finish. On the technical descent towards the finish line, Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo) increased the pace, drawing Arlenis Sierra (Movistar) and Marlen Reusser clear with her. Behind them, Vollering chased hard to bring Blanka Vas back to the front, and a group of four riders followed just behind them.
On the flat kilometre into the finish line there was a slight regrouping, before SD Worx took it up on the front. Reusser started the lead out, while Vollering forced Sierra into the wind early. Vas launched from the front, but had enough in the legs to hold Sierra off to the line. Coming from further back with a huge turn of pace, Eleonora Gasparrini took third on the day, as the peloton came across the line in dribs and drabs behind.
Stage One – Results
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