Arlenis Sierra took her first Women’s WorldTour victory of the season on day one of the Tour de Romandie. An attacking stage saw Sierra the best sprinter left in the front group and she was able to kick past Liane Lippert and Demi Vollering in the sprint. As a result of her stage win, Sierra takes the leader’s jersey into Stage 2.
A tough-looking stage on paper but with a flat finish, the women’s peloton repeatedly attacked itself in an effort to go clear. The main GC contenders all made it across – the likes of Van Vleuten, Vollering, Longo Borghini and Garcia. It was also the first race for Van Vleuten in her world champion’s jersey since winning in Wollongong.
The day started and finished in Lausanne, taking in 134.4km along the way and plenty of climbing. A set of 5 3rd category climbs were on the parcours and offered up a chance for a solid lead in the QoM jersey. Katia Ragusa and Elena Hartmann were the first to go on the attack and gained a couple of minutes. SD Worx initiated a move but it was Team DSM’s Elise Uijen who decided to bridge across to the front pair to take the points over the penultimate climb of the day. Shortly afterwards the break was caught.
On the final climb of the day at Les Granges, the race really heated up. Attack after attack was launched with all of the GC teams trying to see if they could drop a rival and drop some of the sprinters too. Riders regularly got small gaps but no one could quite land the hammer blow. With 20km to go and the race now on the flat, it was expected the group might settle in for the sprint. However, the group continued to attack each other and only the work of the likes of Van Dijk working for Longo Borghini and Van Vleuten working for Sierra kept the group together.
In the last kilometre, Team DSM fired up a strong lead-out for Liane Lippert but Arlenis Sierra positioned herself well and comfortably took the victory.