The opening stage of the 2023 Bretagne Ladies Tour was marked by plenty of a wind and a large crash that split the bunch up. It was won by Marta Lach, the Pole winning with a late attack in the final km ahead of her break companions. The 124km stage started and finished in Kerlouan, with the final part of the stage raced over laps to the sea and back.
A largely flat stage, with a couple of relative climbs earlier in the day to be able to award a QoM jersey. A crash before the live coverage began spelled the end of Alana Castrique’s race but also allowed 19 riders to go clear. It contained the likes of: Audrey Cordon-Ragot, Eri Yonamine, Daria Pikulik, Lily Williams, Wiktoria Pikulik, Valentine Fortin, Dominika Wlodarcyzk, Coralie Demay, Flora Perkins, Alessia Vigilia, Dani De Francesco, Romy Kasper, Lea Lin Teutenberg, Marta Lach, India Grangier, Marie-Morgane Le Deunff and Anastasia Carbonari.
FDJ-Suez had completely missed the move and set a hard pace in the chase group, aided by Ceratizit-WNT, who despite having 2 riders ahead were working for their leader this week Cédrine Kerbaol. The gap settled at around 50″ for a few laps but by the final lap, the gap was down to around 20 seconds instead. That sparked a fresh impetus in the front group as Human Powered Health’s Audrey Cordon-Ragot attacked with Romy Kasper, a move the pair had discussed at the back of the group. That kicked off a desperate scramble to get onto their wheels.
Not everyone made it and the front group was now just 6 riders – Kasper, Cordon-Ragot, Lach, Wlodarcyzk, Demay and Vigilia. The smaller group worked well together, although Lach was both working and not working with her leader behind. The chase seemed to lose its impetus as well as the front 6 looked secure for the win. The first move came from Vigilia but it was closed and countered. The back and forth continued with Lach making the decisive move to the finish line. Alessia Vigilia finished 2nd with Coralie Demay finishing 3rd.
The plan was that we would go for the intermediate sprints and the stage, but a big crash happened and split the group. I was in the front with Lin and I managed to win the first intermediate sprint while the rest of the girls were working to come back in the group behind. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen in the end, so it was up to us to make the race. I won the GPM and then Lin helped me to come back to the front to win the next sprint too.
With two laps to go, there was an attack but Lin saw it coming and went full gas to follow and help me jump across. After that, there were six of us at the front and I was trying to save as much energy as possible. At 1.5 kilometres to go they started to attach each other, so I followed and then attacked with 500 metres to go. I managed to get myself a little time advantage in the General Classification and win the stage, but really it’s thanks to the whole team. I’m really proud because it’s a race sponsored by CERATIZIT, and I won the last stage last year so it’s nice to win the first one this year. Maybe we didn’t win it with the rider we planned, but it’s a team victory for sure! We’re looking forward to fighting over the next stages.”Marta Lach
2023 Bretagne Ladies Tour Stage 1 result
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