Trek-Drops successful in the first race of the European season
The European season kicked off with the Setmana Ciclista Valencia, as Trek-Drops lined up amongst 160 ambitious cyclists on the start line.
The UCI 2.2 tour attracted the maximum amount of teams, and with the first race in Europe always a nerve-wracking affair – no one, less the Australians, quite know where their form is at – it meant that stage one would be the most hectic of the four.
Based on the course profiles, it was decided that today would be challenging, however not the most challenging of the four stages and Trek-Drops’ game plan was to safely guide its GC leaders, Anna Christian and Kathrin Hammes, safely through to the finish.
However, with bike racing, things never quite turn out the way you initially plan, so you adapt to the situation on the road!
Going into the first categorized climb, a crash at the bottom caught out Anna Christian, while Tayler Wiles and Abby Mae Parkinson represented the team well in the front, and were able to follow the strong pace led by Canyon SRAM.
Two riders managed to escape on the slopes of the final categorized uphill and gained a maximum of 30 seconds over the top of the climb. The long descent into the finish meant the two leaders would have to put in a big effort to keep the gap from a charging group of 20 riders, that included three from Trek-Drops: Wiles, Parkinson, and Hammes.
It was only in the final 300 meters of the race that the two escapees were caught. Hannah Barnes (Canyon SRAM) won the reduced bunch sprint with young Abby Mae Parkinson coming in for a strong 8th place to claim the lead in the Best Young Rider category.
After the race, Parkinson admitted she had big nerves for the first race of the season:
I was really nervous before the race, I really had no idea how I was going at all. I managed to stay near the front of the peloton for the technical parts which boosted my confidence as staying up front has always been a struggle for me.
I felt strong coming into the finish after the last decent so I put a couple of big turns in to catch the two leaders. I was first into the last corner and just gave it my all. I'm super happy with the result and it was great to have the Trek-Drops' girls around me throughout the race.
Overall I am very pleased with how the team rode today. They followed all instructions and really gave it their all. Like I have said before, they are learning how to race as a unit, and the finish of the race we haven't quite got down pat. This takes time, and the mere fact we had 3 in the front shows that we have a strong team here this week for this race. Tomorrow is a new day to try again!
- Loren Rowney, Team Director