Cylance Pro Cycling Left the Ladies Tour of Norway with strong results and looking to build on that success in Sweden at the next round of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, the Crescent Vårgårda Road Race and Team Time Trial. The course for the road race suited the classic specialists with four gravel sections and many short climbs, the gravel sections would play a role in defining the race for the peloton.
The 141 kilometers of the race included four 11km laps around Vårgårda followed by a larger 53km loop which featured the gravel sections and another four laps around Vårgårda before the finish. At the completion of the first four local laps the peloton had a deficit of 1:30 on a solo Cervelo-Bigla rider, Nicole Hanselmann. Her lead grew out to over 2 minutes on the bigger loop.
At the second of the gravel sections the peloton was able to bring the solo leader back in, however, once the group was all back together attacks came one after another with Boels-Dolmans patrolling the front. The grave sections proved to animate the race with the peloton seeing splits due to crashes often. Heading into the final gravel section attacks off the front caused a split in the peloton which allowed nine riders to escape off the front. Our leader for the race, Carmen Small, suffered an untimely crash just as the leaders pulled away. “I crashed, but I’m okay,” added Carmen. “The girls did a great job of getting me back; Doris Schweizer was a motor on the front.”
The nine leaders would maintain a 45” gap heading int the four local circuits, however their lead didn’t grow much larger as the break was not keen to work together. Several bridge attempts from the field including from our Sheyla Gutiérrez would prove unsuccessful. On final lap the field split into several groups allowing leaders to hold onto a 30″ gap, enough to stay away for the victory; local fan favorite Emila Fahlin of Ale-Cipollini took the top step on the podium, our Carmen Small finished 13th and Sheyla Gutiérrez placed 15th.
“I’m really happy because it was a hard WT race,” added Sheyla. “We had bad luck with the crash of Carmen and the flat from Rachele in the worst moment, but we were there. It’s a pitty we couldn’t be in the right move, but we tried to bridge to catch them but finally we only could be fighting for the sprint and we arrived with strength enough for it [Carmen placed second in the field sprint]. Next week more!”