Judith Arndt gave GreenEDGE-AIS a solid start to the Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclism feminine Elsy Jacobs with a second place finish on the opening prologue. The three day stage race, formally two distinct road stages, has expanded to include an evening time trial alongside the original road stages in the three day tour.
Annemiek Van Vleuten (Stichting Rabo Women) bested Arndt by one second on the 1.7 kilometer effort to take the stage victory. Linda Villumsen and Shara Gillow finished two seconds further back to take sixth and seventh respectively.
“All the girls seemed to be pretty happy with their rides,” reported Tiffany Cromwell. “It’s definitely good to have three in the top ten. Judith would have liked to have win, of course, but second is a solid effort. There’s only seconds separating the top ten, and the road races that follow are hard enough to make more of an impact on the race.”
The evening time trial was run in wet, windy conditions.
“It was a short, fast and pretty straightforward prologue, so it was over before you knew it,” said Cromwell. “Everyone race in wet conditions, and there were two dodgy corners that had painted line markers on the road. It made the corners pretty slippery. I think time was made or lost in those corners. Whoever was willing to risk the most would see the most gains. Everyone could put the power down on the straights.”
Like GreenEDGE-AIS, Specialized-lululemon placed three riders in the top-ten and Marianne Vos (Stichting Rabo Women) narrowly missed the podium giving Van Vleuten’s team multiple cards to play. A fierce general classification battle will likely dominate Saturday’s road stage.