• Marta Bastianelli of team Cipollini (centre) celebrates winning the first stage of the AJ Bell Women's Tour from Bicester to Banbury. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Marta Bastianelli has powered to a brilliant sprint victory on stage one of the Women’s Tour edging Australian Chloe Hosking in a bunch finish.
Source:
SBS Cycling Central
5 Oct - 9:04 AM 

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The Italian was first across the line on the 147km route from Bicester to Banbury after the peloton had caught a five-rider attack on the final climb of stage one before powering to victory in a thrilling sprint.

Her victory was also the first for an Italian rider at the Women’s Tour since stage two of the inaugural edition in May 2014.

“There was a breakaway with about two or three kilometres to go, and a big crash at one kilometre to go,” Bastianelli said.

“Luckily, I didn’t crash and started the sprint in third position, which for me was the maximum. But the sprint wasn’t easy. It was a little bit uphill, but for me, it was a good day.”

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The 34-year-old former world champion, who rides for the Alé BTC Ljubljana team, held off 2019 Women’s Tour winner Lizzie Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo teammate, Hosking, and Clara Copponi to become the oldest stage winner in the history of the Women’s Tour.

A fatigued Deignan, who on Saturday won the inaugural Paris-Roubaix Femmes, finished 40th, 26 seconds behind Bastianelli, with Hannah Barnes, of Canyon SRAM Racing, the highest-placed British rider in sixth.

Despite missing out on the win, Aussie Hosking said she was happy with her performance but admitted she mistimed her final effort to the finish line.

“I felt really supported all day which as a sprinter is really nice, with everyone backing me for the finish,” Hosking said.

“I dodged the crash with just under a kilometre to go and was just surfing wheels. Maybe I opened my sprint a little bit early and I just ran out of legs in the last five metres and had to settle for second.”

Hosking wasn’t the only Australian to impress on the opening stage with Team BikeExchange rider Sarah Roy claiming an 11th place finish despite getting caught behind a late crash.

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It was a strong performance from Roy who was still sporting bumps and bruises from riding at Paris-Roubaix.

“The legs are feeling great after Roubaix surprisingly. My blistered up hands on the other hand are quite sore, but I know I’m not the only one,” Roy said

“Our first objective for the finish was to be top-10 into the roundabout 1.3km from the line, and I was thereabouts when the peloton split into two lines going around it and as they merged there was a big crash in front of me. Thankfully I made it through, but unfortunately was off the back of the sprint and didn’t get to contest for it.”

Stage two of the Women’s Tour is a 102km route which starts and finishes in Walsall and features 10 laps of a 10-kilometre circuit around the climb of Barr Beacon.