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

Lozano leads from the front on Stage 3 in Hungary as late crash takes down Peron & Benahmouda

Head Sports Director Massimo Podenzana:

It’s been our intention since the first stage. To get someone up the road in the breakaway, show our jersey to the world and also ease the pressure on our guys in the bunch who are asked with looking after Andrea and Mehdi so they can try in the final sprint.”

“Today that plan worked out really nicely, it took a while for the move to go, but when it went David was at the front, attentive and he made it into the group. We knew there wasn’t much chance of the move staying away, the big sprinters teams would always want to bring things back together ahead of tomorrow’s Queen Stage.

“David worked hard, and he kept trying to drive the group on into the closing kilometers, but they were caught ten kilometers from the finish, then first Mehdi went down and then Andrea in the final kilometer. That finished our chances for the sprint. Thankfully they are both ok. Andrea finished, but Mehdi had to be taken for a check-up, so won’t start tomorrow.”

David Lozano:

“Man, we have been trying every day to get into the breakaway and despite our efforts it didn’t happen, so I am really happy that we made it today. It was hard, but the stage was relatively short, and I felt good out there.”

“At first there were only three of us out there, we attacked on a short rise after the first climb and then two more guys came across. As a quintet we worked well together, I tried to go for some KOM points and managed to pick up a couple, but the other guy had a better sprint than me. Still, it was great to get out front again, it’s been a while for me, and I enjoyed it.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com

Wet roads, uphill kickers and late crashes on second stage in Hungary

Sports Director Gennady Mikhaylov:

“There was a crash very early on the bottom of the first climb and we got caught out behind it. Subsequently we missed the break. Seven guys went clear after the crash and that was it until the last ten kilometers.”

“We knew the final was going to be quite technical with successive roundabouts and it was made more technical with the wet roads. There was another crash as the break was caught and we tried to bring Andrea back up, but we were a little too far back. Considering the difficulties in the final, to place 21st is pretty good and it was very good to see the guys working together to help Andrea over the last 20 kilometers.”

Andrea Peron:

“I actually finished a little better today than yesterday even if the stage was harder, but to be honest I’m feeling like I’m missing a bit of top end after having a little break after the Tour of Turkey and it would be great if we can go better again tomorrow.”

“We were all together as a team for most of the stage and that’s a great feeling, having your teammates around you, supporting you to try and get the best result possible.”

Charles Planet:

“Me and David tried to get in the break today, but we missed the key attack, and that was the attack that formed the breakaway, Afterwards, I have to say we worked well together for Andrea, but we know we need to try and stay up there with him for as long as possible and unfortunately today we struggled to be there until the last kilometer.

“We split in the final five kilometers when the speed really ramped up and that is exactly the point where we need to fight to be together. We know that and that’s what we are aiming for tomorrow.”

— tnn to www.teamnovonordisk.com