All images: ©Velofocus
It was a double stage for the opening day of the Healthy Ageing Tour yesterday, and a double podium for CANYON//SRAM Racing.
In the morning's 16.9km individual time trial stage 1a in Leek, Lisa Brennauer stormed to third place with an average speed of over 44km/hour. Brennauer finished 36 seconds behind winner Ellen van Dijk (DLT).
"I'm pretty happy with the time trial. I finished third and I had a good day on the bike. I felt good and everything went well. I think it's a good start into the tour and something we can build on."
Hannah Barnes, who finished in 19th said she would use the first ITT of the season as a building block. "The course wasn't technical but I wanted to have a real go. I felt a little tired still from racing Flanders on Sunday, but in the race I actually felt good so that was positive. I want to use the momentum from today's TT into my preparation for the TT national championships in June."
No sooner was stage 1a finished, then teams were lining up again for a 77km afternoon road stage in Grijpskerk. Strong winds caused the winning split in the peloton within the first 5km of the race. A group of 17 riders then stayed away until the finish.
Even before the start, Lisa Brennauer predicted a hectic afternoon stage. "These double stages are always hard, it will be a tough and the races like this can never be underestimated from the riders. You have to be aware and really present and have a good eye for what's happening in the stage."
Three riders from CANYON//SRAM Racing made the front split, Lisa Brennauer, Barbara Guarischi and Hannah Barnes.
After the stage Guarischi said "We didn't have as many riders as Boels or Sunweb but we were still strong and always in the front when those teams were trying to split our group."
"In the final, van der Breggen attacked and when she came back then Pieters went. Hannah tried to bring it back, and also Lucinda Brand (SUN) but in the end it was too late and Pieters stayed away. The last corner was just 80m to go and Dideriksen and Lepistö took the corner first but they had the wrong line, so I passed them on the inside and sprinted to second."
The team will now race Stage 2, a 19.6km team time trial stage in Baflo, with the first team starting at 14:00 (CEST) today.