Former British champion Hannah Barnes bagged her first first since the 2016 nationals on Sunday at the Giro Rosa in Italy.
The 24-year-old sprinted to stage victory on the third day of the Giro Rosa, beating a number of the world’s best sprinters in the process.
Though Barnes’s Canyon-SRAM outfit were not riding for her, however, when the opportunity came she was able to take it against the likes of Alé-Cipollini’s Chloe Hosking, Kirsten Wild (Cylance) and world champion Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans).
“There was no pressure on me at the finish,” Barnes told Cycling Weekly. “We weren’t going for me, but I was in a good place with about 200 to go with Barbara [Guarischi] on my wheel and she said go. I went and no one came round me.
“I don’t know where that came from, it’s a huge shock for all of us, but it’s great to win here.”
Her victory ends a barren patch for team, who have only one success to their name all year.
While tomorrow’s stage starting and finishing in Occhiobello is pan flat, today’s 100km race between San Fior and San Vendemiano had two climbs. the first of those was the fearsome Muro Ca’ del Poggio, used for the last two years in the Giro Rosa, and also in the men’s Giro d’Italia.
Though there was a significant descent to the finish the peloton was split significantly, leaving some teams disjointed.
Saturday’s second stage saw three general classification favourites take a two minute lead, leaving other teams possibly fighting for scraps.
“We’re out of GC contention, so we wanted to be aggressive today,” Barnes continued. “We raced it really well and somehow pulled it off.
“Going up the Poggio I would never have thought I would win a stage after that, but we somehow pulled it off.
“Everyone in the team really wants to win and last night we made a deal that if we win we get gelato, so I’m looking forward to my ice cream tonight.”
After crashing at the end of the 2015 season Barnes spent seven months off the bike and this was a significant milestone in her return to top form.
It was also the first stage success for Britain at the Giro Rosa, the only Grand Tour in women’s cycling, since Emma Pooley’s triple stage victory at the 2014 event.
The race continues until Sunday July 9, finishing with a stage to Torre del Greco which includes an ascent of Vesuvius.