Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank’s Dutch speedster, Nina Kessler showcased her sprinting chops at The Women’s Tour this week by claiming the coveted red sprinter’s jersey on the first day of the competition and clinching the title in the seaside town of Felixstowe after an exciting finale.
“Overall, it was a pretty hectic race, and I also felt my legs from Paris-Roubaix,” Kessler said. “I’m happy I could do well to win the sprint jersey. I couldn’t have done it without my team, who gave me perfect lead-outs to help position me to sprint for the intermediate sprints during the race.”
The action started on day one. Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank lined up in Bicester for 147.7km of racing through Oxfordshire, before the inevitable sprint finish in Banbury.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for the team. Unfortunately, Tanja Erath crashed out of the race and sustained multiple broken bones, including her collarbone. Erath received hospital treatment and returned home to Cologne yesterday.
“The first stage was a day with some wind and a number of crashes, and unfortunately, Tanja was caught up in one and won’t be able to continue the race,” team director Rachel Hedderman said. “Overall, I’m super happy that Nina was able to get the jersey and that we had a number of riders finish with the same time as the winner, and that set us up well for the next few stages.”
Despite the unlucky turn of events for Erath, Nina Kessler dominated the intermediate sprints on stage 1 and claimed the sprint jersey in Banbury. The bonus seconds, which were offered along with sprint points, boosted her into third place on the general classification.
Stage by stage, Kessler and the team played their cards right to keep the sprint jersey safe in the blue camp. After six stages battling tough weather conditions, the squad celebrated together on the final day in Felixstowe after Kessler finally secured the Eisberg sprint jersey and Abi Smith finished 16th overall on GC.