Riding in Trek-Segafredo’s first road race, 19-year-old Letizia Paternoster showed her immense promise, winning stage one of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under on Thursday.
The undulating 112.9km opening stage between Hahndorf and Birdwood, finished in a bunch sprint, the young Italian blasting past her rivals, dominating the final, crossing the line more than a bike length ahead of more established riders.
Mitchelton-Scott’s Sarah Roy placed second and Cuban Arlenis Sierra (Astana Women), who won the one day Tour of Guangxi, the closing race of the 2018 WorldTour season, was third.
How it happened
The opening race of the women’s 2019 season had been much anticipated. The event has attracted the strongest field of its four year history, with CCC-Liv, Alé-Cipollini and new super-team Trek-Segafredo all joining home outfit Mitchelton-Scott on the start line for the first of four stages.
Relatively cool temperatures greeted the 88-woman field in Hahndorf, and the race continued in much that vein, with little action.
CCC-Liv led the bunch for much of the day, though it was Alé-Cipollini’s Australian sprinter, Chloe Hosking who took the day’s opening intermediate sprint. She then managed only second in the next intermediate behind Gracie Elvin (Mitchelton-Scott).
Riding for American outfit Team Tibco-SVB, Brit Alice Cobb won the opening classified climb, with Nadia Quagliotto (Alé-Cipollini) winning the second and the third ascent to take the polka-dot jersey into stage two.
None of the climbs were enough to break the peloton though, and the remaining part of the race was all about preparing for the final bunch finish.
Still very young, Paternoster is not new to victory. Last year her powerful sprint and excellent tactical approach saw her win the Festival Elsy Jacobs in Luxembourg as well as other lesser, .2 ranked races.
However, despite the team’s assertion otherwise, she may not have been Trek-Segafredo’s first choice for the sprint Down Under, with Finnish champion Lotta Lepistō withdrawing from the event just before the start.
It is, of course a fabulous start for the new team from whom so much is expected with the stellar roster they have built since the team’s announcement last July.
Tomorrow’s 116.7km stage between Nuriootpa and Mengler Hill is likely to define the general classification. Climbers like Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott), who won a similar stage and her second overall victory last year will come to the fore.
However, with the presence of Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (CCC-Liv) and Paternoster’s team mate, Elisa Longo Borghini mean Australian Spratt is unlikely to have it all her own way.
Santos Women’s Tour Down Under, stage one: Hahndorf to Birdwood (112.9km)
1. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3-10-28
2. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
3. Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana Women
4. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco-SVB
5. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) BePink
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv
7. Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing
8. Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) UniSA-Australia
9. Niamh Fisher-Black (NZ) New Zealand
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé-Cipollini all at same time
General classification after stage one
1. Letizia Paternoster (Ita) Trek-Segafredo in 3-10-18
2. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 2 seconds
3. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé-Cipolliniat, at 5s
4. Gracie Elvin (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at same time
5. Sierra Arlenis (Cub) Astana Women, at 6s
6. Alison Jackson (Can) Team Tibco-SVB, at 10s
7. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) BePink
8. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) CCC-Liv
9. Matilda Raynolds (Aus) Specialized Women’s Racing
10. Rebecca Wiasak (Aus) UniSA-Australia, all same time