UAE Tour Women, Stage 1: The Reactions

Written by: ProCycling Women
Posted 3 months ago

The third race of the Women’s World Tour has started with the second edition of the UAE Tour Women. Lorena Wiebes, former European champion of SD Worx – Protime, emerged victorious this time at the same location where she faced her first direct defeat against former lead-ut-woman Charlotte Kool last year. Behind Wiebes’ sprinting prowess, securing a victory and winning a bet against her teammate Lonneke Uneken, the stage with start and finish in UAE’s biggest city, Dubai, witnessed several narratives unfold.

Pro Cycling Women caught up with Chiara Consonni, the spearhead of the home team UAE Team ADQ, Rachele Barbieri, the second-place finisher, Carina Schrempf of Fenix-Deceuninck, who tried her luck with a late attack in the final, Elisa Longo Borghini and Daria Pikulik, both involved in a crash, as well as world champion Lotte Kopecky, who guided Wiebes to her first victory of the 2024 season.

Lorena Wiebes

After losing against Charlotte Kool at the exact same place twelve months before, Lorena Wiebes finally conquered the Dubai Harbour after a strong leadout from her teammates. Now she is leading the UAE Tour Women and the hot favourite for stage 2 to Madinat Zayed on friday and stage 4 to Abu Dhabi Breakwater on sunday!

Rachele Barbieri

Rachele Barbieri, new with dsm – firmenich PostNL, was planned to be the lead-out-rider for last year’s Dubai-winner, Charlotte Kool. With the news of Kool’s illness and consequent absence in the UAE Tour Women, Barbieri moved up a place in the dsm – firmenich PostNL-sprint train, being the one to finish it off for the dutch squad:

“It was so sad to hear about the sickness of Charlotte on Monday, because we worked really hard this winter to be ready for this race. At the same time we spoke with the team and said: ‘Okay, we try to do a good lead-out anyway and train for that.” In the end Barbieri proved that the team’s sprint train is on track. “Everyone did a really good job. I was with Pfeiffer (Georgi) who led me very well into the wheels of SD Worx – Protime. Then I just felt the moment and tried to give it my all to the finishline. I’m super super happy. I have no words to describe how happy I am.”

Chiara Consonni

More happy faces after the finish, with Chiara Consonni from UAE Team ADQ securing another podium for the team at its home race in the United Arabic Emirates. “I’m super happy. First of all to be there, second to be on the podium again. We improved on the lead-out. I’m really happy with the girls,  the work they did and how I feel.” There’s still improvements for the next days though: “I was a bit too far to the back at the corner and when the sprint started I chose the wrong way. But tomorrow we will try again.”

Carina Schrempff

With around two and a half kilometers to go Austrian road champion Carina Schrempf tried her luck with an ultimate attack only to see herself getting caught again moments before the finish line. “It was actually not my owen idea, but it’s always about sticking to a plan and it was planned that I might’ve gone for an attack late in the final. With a stressful final like this one, I waited for a good moment. The pace was already really high when I attacked, so I had to do an all-out effort to get away from the bunch and then I knew already quite early that it would be really, really hard to make it.”

Elisa Longo Borghini

Elisa Longo Borghini from Lidl-Trek made a little bit of a false start defending her title in the UAE Tour Women. The Italian champion was involved in a crash early in the stage. “I’m all good”, she ensures after the finish. “It was just a small crash, then I had a bike change and I punctured. For the rest it was okay. Nothing really bad, no consequences for the rest of the race.”

Daria Pikulik

A more unfortunate crash victim was Human Powered Health’s Daria Pikulik. With a crash at 14 kilometers to the line her sprint seemed over. “I expected more, but I crashed ten kilometers to the finish. Okay, I was able to come back, but that made it a lot harder then without crash”, she said. The fast sprinter from Human Powered Health is the only rider on the UAE Tour Women-line-up that’s not new with the team from the United States, that also sees Giorgia Bronzini make her debut for the team as a directeur sportif. “We still need to learn a lot. We have all the new riders here, also young riders. We need to learn how to find each other, how everyone is riding and how to do a lead-out.”

Lotte Kopecky

World champion Lotte Kopecky was, once again, vital for Lorena Wiebes’ success. “It was a very hectic final, but we managed to get in position.” Besides being an important part of the sprinting plans of SD Worx – Protime, Kopecky also managed to grab a bnous second on the way for herself. “If it didn’t cost too much energy, then I could go for it. We’re here for good sprinting results with Lorena, but on the climbing stage (saturday to Jebel Hafeet) I can go for myself. I don’t know where I am at this moment exactly, but maybe it goes really well and then this second can make a differrence in the end.”

Tomorrow is stage two at the UAE Tour Women, from Al Mirfa Bab Al Nojoum, where Lorena Wiebes opened her victory sheet last year, to Madinat Zayed.

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