The new European champion, Lorena Wiebes, got to show off her new jersey for the first time today at the Simac Ladies Tour. The Dutch rider had a new white jersey with the famous blue stripes and yellow stars earned from winning back in Munich over a week or so ago. She christened it immediately with victory on Stage 1, although not in a way you might think without having seen the race. Karlijn Swinkels of Jumbo-Visma was 2nd ahead of Audrey Cordon-Ragot of Trek Segafredo. As the winner today, Wiebes takes the leader’s jersey.
Formerly known as the Boels Ladies Tour, the Simac Ladies Tour kicked off with a 141.2km stage around Lelystad. Based on the reclaimed from the sea area of Flevoland, the course had no climbs of note and spent large parts below sea level. With that in mind, it was expected to be a big sprint but the wind created other ideas. The peloton first split after 23km when 28 riders rode away from the front of the peloton, however, it came back together at the 40km mark. That set the tone with the route a 60km local lap. The first intermediate sprint was won by Alison Jackson ahead of Pfeiffer Georgi and Lorena Wiebes.
Crashes in the peloton
The peloton saw a number of crashes which took riders out of the race. Coryn Labecki had to abandon on her return to racing after 2 months and Femke Markus broke a tooth which saw her have to visit the hospital. Belgian Shari Bossuyt was also taken to hospital after her crash, and the likes of Christine Majerus, Rotem Gafinowitz and Anna Trevisi also didn’t finish Stage 1. Riejanne Markus’ jersey was cut up from her crash but she was able to continue, Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio also came off her bike but made the finish.
After the crash, a new group of 21 riders escaped the peloton and surprisingly, managed to stay away until the finish. A combination of riders happy with their time gained on the GC and riders going for the sprint meant that only BikeExchange-Jayco really gave a concerted chase from the peloton. They kept the gap stable but couldn’t make enough headway, despite getting the lead group in view and only 30 seconds in it. Unable to do all the work, the gap ballooned back out to 1 minute heading into the finish. Karlijn Swinkels took the second intermediate sprint from Cordon-Ragot and Jackson.
The end of the stage
With a small bunch sprint incoming, only Liv Racing Xstra took on the role of trying to pressure Lorena Wiebes. Silke Smulders attacked multiple times, then Alison Jackson but they couldn’t get away. Trek Segafredo sat on the front and set a tempo for the final 5km to prevent other attacks and keep the GC seconds as high as possible. We saw a late attack from Chantal van den Broeck-Blaak but as soon as that was caught, it was always likely Lorena Wiebes would win. Led out by Charlotte Kool, Wiebes took a comprehensive victory by several bike lengths.