Lotta Lepistö sprints to 3rd in Herald Sun Tour stage one

Teammate Ruth Winder awarded most aggressive after a long, solo breakaway.

Trek-Segafredo’s Ruth Winder animated the 97-kilometer first stage at the Herald Sun Tour, breaking away on lap six of 22 around the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, but with one and a half laps to go her time out front came to an end, and the expected sprint finish unfolded.  Chloe Hosking (Ale Cipollini) won the mad-dash for the line, with Lotta Lepistö a close third behind BePink’s Rachele Barbieri in second.

We knew it was not windy enough and so it would most likely come to a bunch sprint, so we saved Lotta. The others had the green light to go on attacks and into breaks. Ruth was in a larger group and then she countered, and no one went with her. I guess then she went on a suicide mission and spent 65 kilometers on the front. She lasted way longer than I actually thought she would, and it took two teams to bring her back.

- Ina Teutenberg, director

It was a hectic final lap, with a crash adding to the chaos, and Lotta Lepistö had only Lauretta Hanson for help in the finale.

With Mitchelton-Scott coming to the fore, and a monster pull by Lauretta Hanson, a group of eight split from the rest. Lepistö was there, but it had taken a significant effort for her to maintain positioning in the front, and it cost her a better result.

I am not happy about the 3rd place, especially after Ruth being so long in the breakaway, that I could not finish it. It was really hectic on the last lap, there was a big crash, and it was dodgy; we lost each other a little bit in the last two kilometers. For me, it was hard to get to the front. There was a small gap, and of course, this little climb [on the circuit], and I think I used all my matches already before the sprint - I was already tired in the last 200 meters. I tried my best. We still need more time together, and with more practice, it will come.

- Lotta Lepistö

Winder fittingly was awarded the most aggressive for stage one.

“Ruth was five kilometers short in the end, but good race. It’s a bummer we missed on the stage win, but another chance tomorrow,” concluded Teutenberg.

With one stage to go in the two-day race, Hosking holds the leader’s jersey with Lepistö in third, at nine seconds.