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Brown braves it with a late attack to take the stage one victory at Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Team BikeExchange

Australian rider Grace Brown powered to victory on the opening stage of the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas today, attacking on the final climb of the day before taking the win in a three-up sprint to move into the race lead.

Team BikeExchange controlled the race for most of the day, attempting to split the peloton in the wind after 30km of racing, before Georgia Williams and Sarah Roy then led the peloton and closed down a solo breakaway rider ahead of the final climb of the day.

Brown was well-placed at the head of the reduced bunch alongside teammates Amanda Spratt and Ane Santesteban as they began the final ascent and the Brugge-De Panne winner then made her move with six kilometres to go. Accelerating away from the peloton on the gradual slopes, only two riders were able to go with the 28-year-old’s sheer power.

The trio dangled around 15 seconds ahead of the bunch for the remainder of the climb and as they passed under the flamme rouge it was touch and go as to whether they could hold on to contest the stage victory. As the line approached, Brown led out the sprint, leaving her fellow attackers in her wake as she powered to her second UCI victory of the season and into the race lead for Team BikeExchange.

Grace Brown – Stage 1 winner
“It was our plan to attack and try to win the stage. We wanted to put a little bit of pressure on early on in the crosswinds and see if we could split the peloton. My plan then was to hold on until the last climb and then attack as we got to the crest and try to hold onto that until the finish.

I didn’t know if I would have any other riders with me, but I had two riders, unfortunately they didn’t work a lot with me until the end, Elise Chabby pulled a few turns and then it was a sprint against them and I got away with it. I knew on a normal day if we had all pulled equal turns then I could probably win the sprint but I was a bit unsure if I had done too much, so I was relieved to win in the end. 
 
I came into this race feeling pretty good after the last Spanish races so I was confident that if the stage played out as we planned, then I should have a pretty good chance today. It felt really hard after I attacked, and you are never really sure if you will hold on, especially when the gap is quite small.

I was a bit worried if we played too many games at the end with the three of us that we wouldn’t keep the gap and the bunch would come past us, so I knew I couldn’t wait too late until my sprint, which is why I led it out.”

Alejandro Gonzales-Tablas – Sport Director 
“The outcome of today’s race was exactly the plan, it was everything we wanted from kilometre 30 when we tried to split the peloton in the wind and then going into the climb. It was an amazing job from the girls to put our riders into the top position into the climb and with the attack with Grace over the top, it was all as planned. It is weird that everything happen exactly as we wanted but it is one of those good days.
 
Tomorrow is a stage that should be a bunch sprint, we have a couple of sprinters and it should be a good day for Grace to keep the leader’s jersey.”

2021 Vuelta a Burgos Feminas – Stage 1 Results:
1. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 3:32:04
2. Elise Chabbey
3. Niamh Fisher-Black

General Classification after stage 1:
1. Grace Brown (Team BikeExchange) 3:32:04
2. Elise Chabbey
3. Niamh Fisher-Black

Photo Courtesy of Getty Sport.

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com