Doebel-Hickok snatches QOM in Valenciana finale, Franz wins Points – Rally Cycling

Rally Cycling came out swinging in their first stage race of the season with Krista Doebel-Hickok tearing up the climbs to win the QOM competition on the final stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Doebel-Hickok’s performance comes hot on the heels of teammate Heidi Franz who pulled on the Best Sprinter’s jersey on stage 3 to make it two classification wins for the team.

I feel proud, encouraged, and excited for what’s to come,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I’ve been racing to win. Whether that’s the stage on Friday or the jersey today. When I lost time on the opening day due to a mechanical I shifted my focus and chased the mountains classification. I’ll enjoy this jersey for a few days and then we’re back at it on Thursday.”

Franz, who featured in the breakaway on three of four stages, found renewed energy while sporting the pink Sprinter’s jersey on the final day to Alicante.

It was so special to wear pink today and I think it gave me some extra superpowers,” said Franz. “I managed to chase back to the peloton about four different times after being dropped on the climbs to help support Krista and Katie with bottles. I think the team really came together this week and supported each other with all the highs and lows. It’ll just keep getting better as the season progresses and I’m excited to be part of it.”

Both Franz and Doebel-Hickok spoke about their teammates following the final stage as four of them were caught up in a large wreck on stage 3. Holly Breck and Leigh Ann Ganzar decided not to start on Sunday as a result of their injuries while sprinter Olivia Ray was forced to abandon on the roadside due to a fractured fibula.

“The ladies had some really bad luck but they rode strong as a unit this week and proved they can fight hard in the Euro peloton,” said Kiesanowski. “Winning the sprint and mountains jerseys at this tour is a big deal. Lots of teamwork and hard work paying off after constantly animating the race from the get-go. I’m really proud of them.”

Next up is a series of Spanish one-days starting with the Emakumeen Nafarroako Classic on May 13.

Stage 4 results
1 ŽIGART Urška Team BikeExchange  3:30:13
2 FIDANZA Arianna Team BikeExchange  0:05
3 GUTIÉRREZ Sheyla Movistar Team  ”
4 ALONSO Sandra Bizkaia Durango ”
5 SOTO Catalina Anais NXTG Racing  ”
6 KLEIN Lisa Canyon SRAM Racing ”
7 TOMASI Laura Alé BTC Ljubljana  ”
8 SILVESTRI Debora Top Girls Fassa Bortolo  ”
9 BORGHESI Letizia Aromitalia – Basso Bikes – Vaiano ”
10 RODRÍGUEZ Sofia Sopela Women’s Team ”
11 BORGSTRÖM Julia NXTG Racing ”
12 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek Movistar Team ”
13 AALERUD Katrine Movistar Team ”
14 ERASO Idoia Laboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi ”
15 BIRYUKOVA Julia ”
16 GARCÍA Mavi Alé BTC Ljubljana ”
17 KERN Špela Massi – Tactic Women Team ”
18 CLOUSE Katie Rally Cycling Women
19 ANDRES Michelle Andy Schleck – CP NVST – Immo Losch ”
20 BENITO Mireia Massi – Tactic Women Team ”

Final QOM classification
1 DOEBEL-HICKOK Kristabel Rally Cycling Women 23
2 ENSING Janneke Team BikeExchange 21
3 SHAPIRA Omer Canyon SRAM Racing 20
4 GILL Nadine Michaela Bizkaia Durango 12
5 ŽIGART Urška Team BikeExchange 7

Final Sprints classifcation
1 Heidi Franz Rally Cycling 10
2 Omer Shapira CANYON//SRAM Racing 5
3 Debora Silvestri Top Girls Fassa Bortolo 4
4 Hannah Ludwig CANYON//SRAM Racing 3
5 Maria Martins Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur 3
6 Krista Doebel-Hickok Rally Cycling 1
7 Christina Schweinberger Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus 1

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com

Franz attacks in Valenciana, takes Points jersey – Rally Cycling

The third stage of this year’s Setmana Ciclista Valenciana was a scorcher. With no major mountains in sight, the peloton flew along at over 43 km/hr en route to the expected bunch sprint in Valencia. Never one to settle for the expected, Rally Cycling went on the offensive early before placing Heidi Franz in the main breakaway of the day. The 26-year-old proceeded to win both intermediate sprint points off the front of the race to move into the pink jersey with one stage remaining.

It’s so exciting and unexpected to be in the jersey,” said Franz after the podium ceremony. “It wasn’t the plan for me to be in the break but once I was, Joanne encouraged me to go after the sprints. It’s been something I’ve been working on a lot this winter so it felt really satisfying to put that work to use.”

After travel restrictions and a lack of race invites derailed their early season, the team is starting to hit its stride at the races.

“Today helped my confidence after a really difficult start to the season,” added Franz. “It feels great to be with this team in the races again and making an impact on the race. I’m super proud of how everyone is stepping it up. Today was a really rough day with crashes back in the peloton, so I’m just happy to have something to give back to the team.”

The team had been targeting the stage with New Zealand criterium champ Olivia Ray but a massive pileup midway through the stage saw an end to her stage race. Initial reports are an ankle fracture that will require surgery.

Sprint classification after stage 3
1 Heidi Franz Rally Cycling 10
2 Omer Shapira CANYON//SRAM Racing 5
3 Kathrin Schweinberger Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus 5
4 Debora Silvestri Top Girls Fassa Bortolo 4
5 Giorgia Vettorello Top Girls Fassa Bortolo 4
6 Hannah Ludwig CANYON//SRAM Racing 3
7 Krista Doebel-Hickok Rally Cycling 1
8 Christina Schweinberger Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus 1

— Tom Soladay to rallycycling.com