Basque rouleur from Movistar Team continues with splendid 2019 season, fights strong into early 11-woman break as Guarischi (TVC) takes win and GC lead.
An 11-woman breakaway could have well decided on Tuesday, right at the start, the 2019 edition of the Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour (UCI 2.1), a six-stage race in Germany which kicked off with a 94km, two-lap rolling circuit around Gera.
Lourdes Oyarbide (Movistar Team) was part of a split formed just 2km in, with all big names present -except for only CCC-, which built a seven-minute advantage and held it until 20km to go. The storms near the finish created a selection into one of the downhill sections, with Oyarbide following Kathrin Hammes (WNT), Christa Riffel (CSR) and eventual stage winner Barbara Guarischi (TVC).
Despite the group ultimately coming back together, with nine riders tackling the slightly uphill finish, Lourdes crossed the line in a fine 6th spot and the bonus seconds allowed her ranking 7th overall, in a race to be decided between Thursday -a tough finish in Dörtendorf- and Saturday -a difficult 15km ITT in Meiningen-. Some good terrain to build on what already is a stellar season from Oyarbide.
Some worse news from stage one came with a crash under the storm by Alba Teruel, 15km before the end. The Valencian youngster, who was still able to complete the stage inside the peloton, required post-stage medical attention to heal a wound to her elbow, crashing against another rider’s bike into a big pile-up in the field.
REACTION / Lourdes Oyarbide:
“The break was formed really early, just 2km into the stage. I was gaining some positions after taking the neutralized start from the back, and as soon as I got to the front, I saw like five riders attacking, and so I decided to join. When I looked back I saw the bunch wasn’t following us – it was really unexpected to see that break form, and stick to the finish. There was some good cooperation inside the group, and we gained a big advantage quite quickly. At the final lap we caught some rainy spells, and the stage winner –Barbara Guarischi– attacked us into a descent. She’s a quite good descender, and so was able to open a significant gap. I was able to enter that four-woman group -which allowed me to grab the bonus seconds-, yet into the final kilometers we were caught again, so it was pretty much a group sprint. I tried to attack a couple times, knowing they would be faster than me, but that wasn’t a move that could really stay away in such a finish.”
Cover picture (c): Velofocus