After a four-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the Tour of Chongming Island made its much-anticipated return to the cycling calendar. The opening stage of 108.9km set the stage for a riveting mass sprint, with top names like Chiara Consonni, Martina Fidanza, Anouska Koster, and Tamara Dronova taking to the start line. Though a breakaway group of five briefly spiced up the stage, the main action was left for a mass sprint.
Mylène de Zoete, a 24-year-old Dutch rider for Ceratizit WNT, emerged as the victor, clinching her first professional win. She had been pulling for Martina Fidanza but ended up taking the win herself. “I was supposed to lead out the sprint for Martina, but I had to brake hard and regain speed. Suddenly the finish line was there, and I won,” De Zoete stated, expressing her surprise and happiness over her unexpected win. “We’re taking it day by day; I’m just happy to start in the leader’s jersey, and we’ll see if we can win the tour,” she added.
The triumph in China is a landmark moment for De Zoete, who had previously placed well in races such as the UAE Tour Women, Baloise Ladies Tour, Grote Prijs Beerens, and Binche-Chimay-Binche, where she recently finished sixth. Now, she not only savours her first WorldTour victory but her first win of any kind in her professional career. It also means she will lead the general classification tomorrow.
Australian Georgia Baker and Polish rider Daria Pikulik followed De Zoete to round off the podium. Earlier in the stage, a five-rider breakaway, including Tiril Jørgensen of Team Coop-Hitec Products, had momentarily livened up the proceedings. However, their lead never exceeded three-quarters of a minute, and they were inevitably reeled back in, setting the stage for the dramatic sprint finish.
The Tour of Chongming Island’s last edition had seen a dominant performance by Lorena Wiebes, adding an additional layer of prestige to De Zoete’s win. With this victory, she becomes yet another promising sprinter talent from the Netherlands.
2023 Tour of Chongming Island Stage 1 result
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