Daria Pikulik wins Stage 1 of the 2023 Women’s Tour Down Under

Daria Pikulik Women's Tour Down Under 2023 Stage 1

Human Powered Health’s new signing Daria Pikulik got off to a winning start on Stage 1 of the 2023 Women’s Tour Down Under. The Pole was able to sprint past pre-race favourites Georgia Baker and Clara Copponi in the expected sprint finish to Stage 1. Pikulik, who is also well-known on the track joined from the ATOM Deweloper team after an impressive 2022 season.

The early riding saw more crashes than action, with a crash in the neutral zone seeing the abandonment from the race of riders like Lizzie Stannard and Emma Langley before the race had even officially begun. There was no early break but some initial echelons in the wind meant that GC riders had to be awake and aware. The peloton was still together though at the QoM which was taken by another new signing, Gladys Verhulst of FDJ-Suez. As it was the only QoM of the stage, Verhulst will wear that jersey tomorrow. Earlier Grace Brown had taken bonus seconds at the first sprint ahead of Alex Manly and Ruby Roseman-Gannon.

There was a nasty crash for Keely Bennett on the descent. The Team BridgeLane rider was one of the outsiders I mentioned in the Women’s Tour Down Under race preview, so it’s a shame to see her crash out of the race as a DNF. We did then see a breakaway featuring Isabelle Carnes and Gina Ricardo. They took the 2nd set of sprint points and bonus seconds before being caught around 10km from the finish.

The lead into the final sprint saw Jayco-AlUla doing a bulk of the work through Georgie Howe and Alex Manly. As they entered the last 1km, Ruby Roseman-Gannon led out Georgia Baker at the front. Zaaf Cycling’s Canadian champion Maggie Coles-Lyster was on their wheels but they had a small gap as the field splintered under the high pace. Human Powered Health looked strong with 3 riders available but then fragmented and effectively ended up with 2 single sprinters in Schmid and Pikulik. FDJ-Suez were busy bringing up Clara Copponi in the meantime. Loes Adegeest put in a huge turn to bring up her teammate to the Jayco-AlUla riders at the front.

Those without assistance were left to fend for themselves. Ally Wollaston was seen in the New Zealand jersey having to sprint in the wind just to keep in touch with the front riders. As FDJ-Suez caught Jayco-AlUla on the front, Georgia Baker launched her sprint with 300m to go. Copponi was forced to start hers whereas Daria Pikulik could wait just a little bit more. She didn’t take the wind until there were only 200 metres to race and that proved key. She came through and past in the last 50 metres as her rivals faded. Pikulik also takes the GC leader’s jersey thanks to the bonus seconds.

Women’s Tour Down Under Stage 1 Sprint Highlights

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Women’s Tour Down Under 2023 Stage 1 Results

Results powered by FirstCycling.com

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