Lucinda Brand wins the opening stage of the Women’s Tour de Suisse

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Lucinda Brand (Trek-Segafredo) starts her sprint 200 meters from the finish and wins the opening stage of the Women’s Tour de Suisse. From the breakaway group of three riders, Clara Koppenburg (Cofidis) held off Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon-SRAM) at the line to complete the podium in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

1.5 km from the finish, Brand attacked in the lead but failed to shake off her companions. She opened her last sunset acceleration of the 46km stage late in the day and easily took her first road victory of the season.

Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) led the chase group well behind the trio to finish fourth, 50 seconds behind.

“It was hard [in the breakaway] at first, but then you get into a rhythm. It was probably easier than riding in the peloton where you constantly have to fight for position; there’s a lot of braking and pushing, which makes for a trickier ride. We found a good rhythm and worked well together,” said Brand.

The three riders broke free 27.6 km from the finish and widened a gap which reached almost a minute. The trio began to lap a few riders with 17km to go as they accelerated the main climb of the day, a leg with gradients above 10%.

7.4km from the finish, Lianne Lippert (Team DSM) attacked to start a chase and was joined by Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange-Jayco), Soraya Paladin (Canyon-SRAM), Jolanda Neff (Swiss National Team ), Jade Wiel (FDJ Nouvelle -Aquitaine Futuroscope) and her Team DSM teammate Floortje Mackaij.

The trio had widened their gap to 57 seconds with two laps to go. In the chase, Neff and Lippert did a lot of work in the lead going into the final lap and closed the gap to 36 seconds with 3km to go, but couldn’t catch up.

The second edition of the Tour de Suisse Women, from June 18 to 21, opened with 10 laps of a 4.6 km circuit in and around Vaduz, Liechtenstein. The race took place in the evening after stage 7 of the men’s Tour de Suisse had finished earlier in the day, 13 kilometers away in the village of Malbun ski resort.

As the Tour de Suisse ends on Sunday for the men, the women will face a stage 2 time trial in Vaduz, using the same 25.6km course on which the men will compete. Brand will wear the leader’s jersey and be the last rider on the start ramp for the women’s time trial.

“Of course I will try to defend the jersey, but I don’t know how far I can, especially on the last day when we finish uphill. The third day will already be hard, and of course the time trial In terms of climbing, it’s difficult, and we’ll see how it goes. But for sure I’ll try,” she added.

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