Tour of Chongming Island 2011
Stage 1 - Lizzie Armitstead wins first stage of Tour of Chongming Island
Chongming New City Cup, 73.4km
Lizzie Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo) won the first stage of the Tour of Chongming Island 2011, in a sprint to the line ahead of the 2010 overall winner Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC Highroad). Annemiek van Vleuten (Nederland Bloiet) was third.
Conditions for the first stage were cold and wet. The beautiful sunshine from the last two days had disappeared to dark thick clouds. Right from the start conditions deteriorated for the riders as they headed out onto the 73.4km circuit.
With two sprint points on the course that contributed to the overall GC, the bunch stayed pretty much together. The pace only increased significantly as the riders prepared their sprinters to contest the intermediate bonus seconds.
Conditions made it difficult for the riders. Heavy downpours lifted debris from the road; all teams suffered puncture after puncture making it a busy day for the mechanics...
In the last 10km, 60 riders headed to the finish. The long wide roads made it easy for the teams to organise themselves for the sprint. In the end, it was the young British rider who crossed the line first ahead of the more experienced Teutenberg and van Vleuten.
Teutenberg leads the points competition, Nederland Bloeit leads the team classification, Thailand is the best Asian team and Maneephan Jutatip (Thailand) leads the Asian rider classification.
Lizzie Armitstead (Garmin Cervelo) won her first victory as a senior rider. Her previous stage wins were at the Route de France and the Tour de l' Aude in 2010 as an U23 rider. "We expected that it would be a bunch sprint," said Armitstead.
The young British rider has had a difficult start to the 2011 season, after being hospitalised with a gall-bladder infection. She also missed the track world championships in late March. Last week she had to pull out of the GP Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg because of stomach problems, but her win demonstrates that she’s back on form. As the dedicated sprinter, Armitstead need to make sure she was in with a chance, "We wanted to try to force something during the race, but only if there was a good moment. The good moment never came, so the girls tried to help me in the final stages. They did a good lead out. A little bit too early, but they dropped me off on a good wheel so it was good," added Armitstead.
Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC Highroad) leads by just 1 second overall after the first stage, "Conditions were tough out there today. Not too cold though. It is pretty straight roads here, not too technical. It was just not as pleasant as riding in the dry that's all," said Teutenberg.
whether she can win the overall again this year, Teutenberg added, "One
second is nothing, so it means we are going to have to fight for every
second and every stage win. It will be as much of a fight as it was last
year. We are expecting that. It's a close lead," said
Teutenberg. "One second can be taken away instantly with the
time bonuses along the way. It will be hard to defend but we'll give it
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>[2011_ChangedCopy/Gallery2011/05_Chongming/01_Stage1/PhotoIndex.html]
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