By Nick Bull
Hannah Barnes started her 2014 season in the best way possible yesterday, sprinting to win stage one of the inaugural Tour de San Luis on her debut for the new UnitedHealthcare team.
20-year-old Barnes, the reigning British Circuit Race Champion, comfortably outsprinted Chile's Paolo Munoz and Cuban rider Arlenis Candailla in a bunch sprint in central Argentina.
The team's lead-out Barnes was relatively smooth, particularly so given the American squad is in its infancy. Her team-mate Alison Powers accelerated 500m from the finish, before Barnes started her impressive sprint that saw her claim the victory with 150m remaining.
Speaking afterwards, Barnes said:" The team rode awesome! My team-mates did an amazing job today and put me in a position where I was able to deliver for them.
"This is a pretty good way to start the season. Everyone played a part in the win today and I am proud to be a part of the UnitedHealthcare Blue Train."
Barnes leads the race overall now by virtue of her victory, going into today's undulating second stage from Merlo to Merlo.
Tour Feminino de San Luis 2014: Stage one, Villa Mercedes-Villa Mercedes
1. Hannah Barnes (GBr) UnitedHealthcare 63km in 1-51-44
2. Paola Munoz (Chi) Clos Pirque Trek
3. Arlenis Canadilla (Cub) Cuba
4. Yudelmis Masague (Cub) Cuba
5. Valeria Pintos (Arg) Planeta Xilium
6. Clemilda Fernandez (Bra) Brazil
7. Serika Mitchel Ortiz (Col) Columbia
8. Barbara Frisch (Arg) Planeta Xilium
9. Sindra Viviana Narvaez (Col) Columbia
10. Marielis Mejias Garcia (Cub) Cuba
15. Sharon Laws (GBr) UnitedHealthcare all at st.