Dani Christmas from the Lotto Soudal Ladies team delivered a home win for British fans in the opening stage of the new ŠKODA V-Women’s Tour virtual cycle race on Wednesday evening.
After a stinging attack with 3km to go, Christmas was still able to sprint in the final metres. She headed home fellow Brits Illi Gardner (CAMS-Tifosi) and Amelia Sharpe (Team Breeze) for the podium places. A group of just under 20 riders contested victory in the virtual Bury St Edmunds at the end of the 38.4km stage.
With a fast pace throughout the starting peloton of 52 riders was steadily whittled down but with no individual moves sticking on the largely flat course. The stage converted to virtual reality was used in the real world by the Women’s Tour in May 2014.
Dani Christmas made a move in the closing kilometres but was reeled back in, meaning that 32-year old had to try again in the bunch sprint. The winner of the test event, Lizzy Banks (Bigla Katusha), tried the long sprint that saw her win that race. She looked set to win until the final metres.
“The legs were nipping a bit at the end but it was fun to do. It was hard from the start and you really have to pay attention as soon as there is a small gap you really have to push a few watts to get back to the bunch. I think there were a few people caught out that way.”Dani Christmas
Lotto Soudal Ladies team manager Liesbet de Vocht praised her rider, saying, “She put so much effort into this to making everything work the past few days and did a lot of races to test the RGT programme so she was very motivated.”
With the front group finishing all together, Christmas has a slender lead heading to a hillier second stage on Thursday evening, with the majority of riders still within a handful of seconds.
Re-watch Stage 1 of the V-Women’s Tour
To re-watch the action from Stage One of the ŠKODA V-Women’s Tour, please click here.
Results and Standings
Latest results and standings are available via the Women’s Tour website here.
Looking ahead to Stage 2
The ŠKODA V-Women’s Tour resumes with a hilly second stage of 35.7km around the climb of Burton Dassett in Warwickshire at 19:00 BST on Thursday 18 June, including a hill-top finish.
Live coverage of the race will again be available via the BBC Sport website, BBC app and BBC iPlayer as well as available on the Women’s Tour website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.