Hannah Barnes was forced at the last moment to take on the final sprint in today’s opening stage of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour in Banbury, United Kingdom. Hannah was leading out teammate Alice but after her sister was caught behind a crash with one kilometre remaining, Hannah was forced to recover a result for the team.
“I kept Alice safe from 3km on but with 1km to go there was a crash on the roundabout which held her up, so I went for the sprint. It wasn’t the plan but I tried to do the best I could in the finish,” said Hannah after the stage.
“The race was aggressive at times. The wind was strong and there were a few crosswind sections where it could have split so everyone was cautious about that. Our team covered all the dangerous moves during the stage. Elise (Chabbey) attacked on the final QOM with 12km to go and got away with four others but they were caught with 3km remaining,” explained Hannah.
Alice said, “I was on the left side of the roundabout and the riders on the right came in with so much speed that they swung to the left and took out the riders in front of me. I managed to pass through but I lost all my speed. I wasn’t too badly positioned before that happened and was ready to go for the sprint.”
The stage was won by Marta Bastianelli (ALE) who takes the tour’s first leader jersey. Hannah said she would see how her current eighth place on the general classification (GC) would stand after the individual time trial on stage three.
“I will see how the time trial goes and go from there. The GC is still very close and there are still a lot of kilometres to cover, so we will see what happens,” added Hannah.
Tomorrow’s 102-kilometre second stage starts and finishes in Walsall with the peloton leaving the city to do nearly ten circuits before returning to a city centre finish.
HOW TO FOLLOW
The race can be followed on Twitter with #WomensTour. There is no live broadcast but daily highlights can be found on ITV4, GCN+ and Eurosport.
Stage 2 | Walsall – Walsall | 102.2km | 11:30BST
Stage 3 ITT | Atherstone | 16.6km | First rider 12:01BST
Stage 4 | Shoeburyness – Southend-on-Sea | 117.8km | 11:15BST
Stage 5 | Colchester – Clacton | 95.4km | 11:50BST
Stage 6 | Haverhill – Felixstowe | 155.3km | 11:15BST