Alice Barnes sprinted to eleventh and finished ninth on the general classification after the final stage of Ceratizit Challenge by La Vuelta today in Madrid, Spain. The stage was won by Elisa Balsamo (VAL) ahead of Lorena Wiebes (SUN) in a predictable bunch sprint finish.
We were forced to plan B after we lost Alexis Ryan in an early crash, with the American later being cleared of major injuries.
“I was in the race for only a few laps before the crash happened. I broke my helmet, so continuing wasn’t the smart option. I’m disappointed to be going home with this as my last racing experience, because I felt like I was finally coming into some form. I’m looking forward to some rest at home with my family before building for next season,” said Alexis.
Alice continued, “Unfortunately after Alexis’ crash our plan had to change completely. Alexis had been our protected rider for the day so it meant I had to turn my intentions from the intermediate sprints, to the finish sprint.”
“It was a hectic final and I wasn’t able to fight for a top result which I am disappointed about. It was a good opportunity to try to finish the season on a high,” said Alice.
Alice’s teammate Ella made it safely through the three-day tour, her first race since breaking her femur in August, and will now return home to New Zealand for her offseason.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to be back with the team at a race, and to just get a feel for it all again. It was a good indication of where I am at, and what areas I need to really work on. I truly discovered today that I only really have one gear, which is just a steady tempo – anytime the pace went beyond this I couldn’t match it. I’ve never been a rider with much punch anyway, but currently, I would say I have zero acceleration or speed.”
Ella continued, “Physically in the heart and lungs today I felt fine and capable of more, but my legs couldn’t keep up with the changes in pace around hairpins and in attacks. Disappointing but it is what it is, and I did notice improvements in my accelerating from stage one, so hopefully I won’t be single-speed for much longer! Coming away from the three days, I’m actually feeling rather tired, so it was probably just the right re-introduction for me.”
This week we will announce our first new rider for the 2021 season.