The tenth event of the UCI Women’s World Tour saw Drops travel to the United States to take on the Amgen Breakaway From Heart Disease Women’s Race. Another world class field awaited the riders after the European spring with new challenges in the long, high passes of Northern California.
Stage 1 was intended to spark a GC battle immediately with 117km and nearly 2500m of climbing starting and finishing at Heavenly Mountain Ski Resort and circling Lake Tahoe. Megan Guarnier of Boels-Dolmans took the win and the overall lead with team mate Anna Van Der Breggan carrying her excellent form across the Atlantic for second. Martina Ritter lost just 28 seconds to finish the day 13th with Anna Christian, Abby Mae Parkinson and Lizzie Holden also within a minute of the lead.
The second stage featured even more climbing than the first with over 3000 vertical metres, including the 2200m Luther Pass. It was California resident Katie Hall who took the honours and the leaders jersey with Van Der Breggan again second. Martina continued her impressive run with 11th, 1:08 down. Anna Christian crossed the line in 25th to continue her attempt to place highly in the Young Riders ranking. Stage 3 was one for the sprinters with a fast and technical circuit finishing outside the Capitol building in downtown Sacremento . Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera, winner of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen showed her pace to win but for Drops a strong 10th place for Abby Mae in the sprint and Martina also getting in the group of 40 who crossed the line just six seconds ahead of the main pack pushed the team up to 4th in the Team Rankings.
The fourth and final stage of the race was a 90km Criterium around Sacremento, with tight corners and lots of accelerations reminiscent of the Tour Series played out in the city centres of the UK. With the men’s race starting after the finish, the barriers of the circuit were crammed with spectators who witnessed Anna Van Der Breggan take the victory, Katie Hall defend her overall lead and Drops close out an excellent week of racing with Martina Ritter achieving the team’s goal of placing a rider in the top ten of the GC, finishing 9th. Anna Christian, Hannah Payton and Abby Mae Parkinson all made the top ten of the Young Riders classification in 7th, 9th and 10th and the team finished 5th in the team rankings. Excellent results in a genuinely world class stage race.