It's no surprise that Rabo Liv dominated once again with Marianne Vos winning the stage and taking the lead in the GC classification, but the way it all played out was anything but predictable. The racers set out on 11 laps (plus 1 neutral lap) around an 8.65km loop featuring one nasty climb at the 3 km mark, followed by a narrow, technical, descent on the backside. Lap after lap the hill chipped away at each rider's stamina, and the scene on the descent was sketchy at best. Hitec racer Chloe Hosking described it as "traumatic", with riders sliding off the road on every lap. [CyclingNews.com]
By lap 4 the peloton was in pieces, and then the attacks began. It's times like these that you wish the race was televised because trying to keep up over Twitter is nearly impossible. Imagine the excitement of the TdF final sprint played out over, and over, and over again. By lap 7, prologue winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Rabo Liv) got in a break with Hitec's Ashleigh Moolman and created a 1:15 minute gap. But Annemiek's own team chased them down, possibly because they new Moolman had a better change of holding the lead on the final climb.
In the end, Marianne Vos took 1st with an overall time of 2:43:03, Elisa Longo Borghini (Hitec) is 4 seconds back, and Vos teammate, Pauline Ferrand Prevot, finished 5 seconds back. After only one stage, Marianne Vos has managed to put full minutes between her and other GC contenders such as Mara Abbot and Evelyn Stevens. It's going to be an exciting 8 days of racing!
Start/Finish line [Instagram: Luca Nuzzo]
These girls are hurting! [VeloFocus.com]
Vleuten (Rabo Liv) and Moolman (Hitec) in a breakaway [VeloFocus.com]
Marianne Vos crosses the finish line [CyclingTips]
Marianne Vos (right) and teammate Pauline Ferrand Prevot (left) [Instagram: Marianne Vos]
Team Hitec Products [Instagram: Julie Leth]