The women of Rally UHC Cycling arrived in Southern California early this week to preview the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race route and the decision to recon the stages proved vital during Thursday’s opener, where brutal 30+ MPH winds buffered a challenging and technical course. The team battled the conditions and used their recon knowledge to perfectly position Emma White and Krista Doebel-Hickok for the final, decisive climb with five km remaining.
The Rally UHC Cycling duo made the front group from which White sprinted to seventh on the stage, while GC favorite Doebel-Hickok finished safely in the front group ahead of Friday’s queen stage to Mt. Baldy.
“We set ourselves up exactly how we needed to,” said White. “We wanted to be in the top five going into the last climb and the group exploded at the bottom. The wind was really strong over the top and we were all over the place fighting for position on the downhill into the finish.”
White sprinted to the podium on two stages in 2018, winning the Points Classification in the process. With an additional year of experience and confidence under her belt, the 22-year-old from Duanesburg, NY was left wanting more following the stage finish.
“I’m pretty bummed,” said White. “I knew I was capable of being on the podium and I’m frustrated because I knew I could have been there today.”
Team director Zach Bell was feeling upbeat that the team executed their pre-race plan.
“The team rode well today,” said Bell. “They positioned key riders at the right moments in the race. Sometimes small decisions in positioning has a significant impact on the end result but they can be proud with how they rode.”
Friday’s queen stage to Mt. Baldy climbs a whopping 8,400 ft over a short 74 km course.
“Tomorrow we go straight up the mountain,” said Bell. “There are not a lot of tactics to be had but we will do everything we can to be represented when the fireworks start.”
Stage one results
1 VAN DER BREGGEN Anna Boels – Dolmans Cycling Team 2:36:17
2 BALSAMO Elisa Valcar Cylance Cycling 0:18
3 SIERRA Arlenis Astana Women’s Team ,,
4 KIRCHMANN Leah Team Sunweb ,,
5 MOOLMAN Ashleigh CCC – Liv ,,
6 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna Canyon SRAM Racing ,,
7 WHITE Emma Rally UHC Cycling Women ,,
8 DEIGNAN Elizabeth Trek-Segafredo Women ,,
9 CHAPMAN Brodie Team TIBCO – SVB 0:20
10 CAVALLI Marta Valcar Cylance Cycling ,,
(Lead photo provided by ROKA and Nils Nilsen)