Linda Villumsen 11th on hard stage 1 of Women’s Herald Sun Tour

A break took the victory in stage 1 of Women’s Herald Sun Tour, where Team VIRTU Cycling’s Linda Villumsen was 11th in the chase group.

The Australian race Women’s Herald Sun Tour launched with a 123.5 kilometer stage with both start and finish in Healesville. On the route, the riders had to pass two climbs, where the last was the most crucial to the race.

From the start, Team VIRTU Cycling tried to slip away from the peloton to get a head start on the two climbs, but the wind and high speed in the peloton meant that no one was allowed to get a gap.

“I wanted them to be aggressive from the start and make the break, but the wind wasn’t right and no one was letting breaks go. We waited for the after the first climb, where we had three in the front group with – Louise, Kasia and Linda. The second climb was pretty long for us, but it all ended up coming back together apart from two riders,” sports director Carmen Small at Team VIRTU Cycling says.

Brodie Chapman had succeeded in making a big gap to the favorite group, and it was only the ITT-world champion Annemiek van Vleuten who was able to get closer to the Australian rider. Team VIRTU Cycling sat in the pursuit group, who ended up finishing just a minute after the two in front.

“They did what they could in the end, but they didn’t have the leg for the sprint. It was not the easiest one today, but if the girls don’t have the legs, they don’t have the legs, you can’t get mad at them for that, so they did what they could today,” Carmen Small says.

Linda Villumsen was Team VIRTU Cycling’s best rider in 11th place, while Kasia Pawlowska was 20th.

On stage 2 of Women’s Herald Sun Tour, the riders will be riding an ultra-short stage, as they will only ride 1.5 kilometers time trial, which will nevertheless be a different experience as many teams don’t have the normal setup.

“It’s a little bit unknow. A lot of teams are in the same boat, that we don’t have trainers to warm up on and ITT-bike here, so we will just see. Every girl will give it a go and we will see what happens,” Carmen Small says.