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Marta Bastianelli wins opening stages of Festival Elsy Jacobs

Marta Bastianelli took a great step to retain her Festival Elsy Jacobs title with victory on Stage 1 of the two-day race in Luxembourg. Her UAE Team ADQ delivered to the line at the perfect moment, catching a group of attackers in the last few metres of the stage. Second place was Ally Wollaston who held on from that group, the New Zealand national champion was a pre-race favourite and almost delivered a win but a late miss-step taking a wrong turn in the final kilometre might’ve just taken the win away from her today.

The longest break of the day came from Nina Berton, the local Luxembourger rider racing for Ceratizit-WNT and she scooped up a bunch of QoM points to take the jersey going into Stage 2. Once caught, a fresh group attacked the final climb, led by Uno-X. Anouska Koster, Arianna Fidanza, Christine Majerus and Eleonora Gasparrini got clear and were bridged by Ally Wollaston a short while afterwards. They maintained a short gap going into the final kilometre where a near wrong turn took away the momentum of that group and brought them into the clutches of the peloton.

The uphill drag to the line required good timing and it was Marta Bastianelli who timed her effort perfectly having been patient in the lead-up to the line. With the bonus seconds, Bastianelli has a gap of 5 seconds on Ally Wollaston in 2nd, with 14 riders still within 20 seconds of the race leader.

“I am very happy with the victory and we had a good race. We worked to create different opportunities and different situations during the race. Bertizzolo responded to the attacks and Gasparrini tried on the climbs. We had talked before the race that we had to be three in front at the decisive moment and that was it.

In the final we were undecided whether or not to close in on Gasparrini’s breakaway which might have had a good chance, we saw that Koster was doing very well today and in the end we decided to close in and make the sprint. I had figured out how to set it up, at the first intermediate sprint there was a crash, but at the second one I made the sprint and realised that I had to wait until the last one to come out.

I started only in the last 100 metres and managed to win like last year.”

Marta Bastianelli

2023 Festival Elsy Jacobs Stage 1 result

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Main photo credit: Spring Cycling Agency