Sharon Laws won the opening day of the six-stage Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche in France – it’s the Briton’s first major victory.
Laws (Cervelo) beat Australian Vicki Whitelaw (Lotto) in the sprint for the stage win in Beauchastel after 112.4km of racing.
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Laws’ fellow Brit and Cervelo team-mate Lizzie Armitstead headed up the bunch to take third, one minute and 41 seconds behind the lead pair.
“My legs where good today,” Laws said after her stage win. “I felt that I was stronger than Vicki, as she mostly followed in my wheel and I was able to beat her in the sprint.”
“I have to say thanks to the team, today we were the smartest and strongest team. I will try to keep leader jersey as long as possible on my shoulders, and we have a lot of other options in the team. I have had some bad luck this year, I broke my collarbone in the Giro and didn’t race for a long time, so this is very gratifying.”
The UCI 2.2-ranked 2010 Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche runs from Tuesday, September 7, to Saturda, September 11. Wednesday’s action starts with a short 3.5km individual time trial in the morning following by a 90km road stage in the afternoon.
Two Britons are currently leading major races in Europe after Alex Dowsett took the lead on Tuesday in the under-23s Tour de l’Avenir.
Tour Cycliste Feminin International de l’Ardeche 2010, stage one: Le Pouzin to Beauchastel, 112.4km
1. Sharon Laws (GB) Cervelo in 2-48-54
2. Vicki Whitelaw (Aus) Lotto Ladies at same time
3. Lizzie Armitstead (GB) Cervelo at 1-41
4. Grace Verbeke (Bel) Lotto Ladies
5. Vilija Sereikaite (Ltu) Lithuania
6. Ludivine Henrion (Bel) Belgium
7. Christine Majerus (Lux) Esgl 93
8. Emilie Moberg (Nor) Norway
9. Ausrine Trebaite (Ltu) Lithuania
10. Sanne Cant (Bel) Belgium all same time