British champion Alice Barnes (Canyon/Sram) says it was a 'relief' to claim a long-awaited victory on stage three of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana, where she sprinted to win ahead of Sheyla Gutiérrez (Movistar) and Mylene De Zoete (NXTG Racing).
The victory is Barnes' first since her win at the 2019 British National Championships road race, and her first outside of Britain since the 2018 Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour in Germany.
The 25-year-old said she needed to live up to expectations of a victory from within the team on Saturday's stage, as one of the few sprinters at the Spanish stage race.
Barnes said: “I feel relief. It’s my first win since 2019 at road nationals, and my first win internationally since 2018.
“I feel like I was expected to win today from within the team but also from the other riders in the peloton. I’m one of only a few sprinters here so it was time to show it, and also after the amazing work the team did in the final 25km, there was no other option but to win today.”
Barnes paid tribute to her Canyon/Sram team for their work on the 120km stage from Sagunto to Valencia, particularly praising Tiffany Cromwell and Lisa Klein for their work in the lead-out, setting a high pace to prevent any late attacks.
"We knew that no one else would help the chase with me there as a sprinter," Barnes said. "All of the team did well to help control and then reduce the gap to the three riders. In the final ten kilometres basically Tiffany (Cromwell) and Lisa (Klein) were swapping turns and then they did the lead out and no one could come around us. I had to deliver after that. It’s nice to get the win for the team too after being so close several times during the spring.”
Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) continues to lead the race by 2-16 over Mavi García (Alé BTC Ljubljana), with a tricky final stage of 114km from Finestrat to Alicante that takes in two classified climbs before a flat finish.
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