All images: ©Kirsty Baxter
Alexis Ryan tonight reclaimed the Young Rider jersey on the final stage of the Santos Women's Tour in Adelaide. With full support from her CANYON//SRAM Racing teammates Ryan dominated the intermediate sprints to take back the white jersey after losing it on the second stage. The final stage was won by Kirsten Wild (CLC) with Annette Edmondson (WHT) and Chloe Hosking (ALE) filling the podium.
The one hour criterium around the free flowing Victoria Park 1.2km circuit was raced fast and furious. With bonus seconds available in four intermediate sprints and at the final, CANYON//SRAM Racing delivered Ryan to a clear victory in each of the first three sprints and a third place in the fourth sprint guaranteed her the win in the Young Rider classification.
Ryan gave praise to her teammates for their lead out efforts. "I secured the jersey only because the girls put in the greatest efforts each time for me in the intermediate sprints. Coming in to the final sprint I went to go and nothing happened, there was nothing left. That was disappointing but for the rest I am proud of what we achieved."
"I'm wearing the Young Rider jersey but it's representative of what we did as a team. It was such a great feeling to have that lead out dialled the first three times. It established our dominance and all of the other teams knew that if they wanted to come around that lead out they would have to give it everything."
Ryan said she felt a new type of pressure being in the position of the team's support rider. "I've never really had that kind of support from a team. Everyone believing in, and giving all of their effort to me. There was a lot of pressure but a good pressure. It gave me confidence. I carried their confidence in to the sprint yesterday and again today."
Following the race Director Sportif Ronny Lauke said "We knew coming here to Australia that we are not in peak form, but we did want to deliver an exciting race and to try to win a stage. This didn't quiet work out. Alexis showed good form already on day one and we decided on stage three to give her the chance from a group sprint and she did well competing against the pure sprinters."
"Since Ålexis was most convincing and had the chance to claim the Young Rider jersey, we gave her full support again tonight. The team executed the strategy well and Alexis delivered. It was a good opening for the year ahead and a good chance to practice some strategies already in this early part of the season."
The team will remain in Adelaide for training before going to Melbourne for the Towards Zero Race and to Geelong for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 26 and 28 respectively.