Christian Shows Her Potential
A strong Drops line-up rolled out on 29th April onto the now traditionally packed roadsides to take on the Women’s Tour De Yorkshire, the UK’s first UCI race of the year.
The team had been targeting this race for a good performance since the start of the season, aiming to bring the form gained in The Classics across the channel and take advantage of the huge number of fans at the roadside.
An opportunity to put on a demonstration of what the team is capable of on home roads, against the best domestic and international scene- all broadcast on live TV. Boels Dolmans were happy to push the pace in the early going. However, this didn’t prevent a flurry of early attacks. Annie Simpson, Rebecca Durrell and Abby Mae Parkinson were assigned to cover any early moves and, if possible, place themselves in the day’s break. All six Drops riders were involved in trying to forge the early move, but in the end the team missed out on the decisive move of the day which went clear with eleven riders, including Dani King of Cylance Pro Cycling. Regrouping, the team worked hard to position Anna Christian to show her climbing prowess on the Cote de Lofthouse. This plan paid off with Anna cresting the climb in a strong chase group, thirty seconds behind an attack from Lizzie Deignan and Olympic Champion Anna Van Der Breggen which quickly bridged to the breakaway. With 50 kilometres to go, the race looked to be settled with Deignen and Van Der Breggen looking to force a selection and only King able to follow, but Anna’s group absorbed the leading trio’s former companions and gave chase, with Sunweb taking up the majority of the work in support of sprinter Coryn Rivera, and began to eat into the advantage.
A tough finale saw the chasing group shed riders in pursuit of Deignan, who attacked alone with 15km to go after seeing her advantage drop from 2 minutes to less than 30 seconds, with Anna waiting and waiting allowing the sprinter’s teams to take the strain. Anna provided a great moment for the team on live TV, countering an attack in the closing stages to keep her chances of a podium place alive. In the end, Anna paid for her efforts of the day, finishing 11th in the group that crossed the line - a minute behind Deignan’s solo victory.
There were more great finishes for Drops, with Alice Barnes taking first and Rebecca Durrell third in the bunch sprint behind Anna’s group for 19th and 21st respectively. In a great team performance, Drops placed all six riders in the top 40, with Annie Simpson 32nd, Laura Massey 34th and Abby Mae Parkinson 40th on a great day for women’s cycling in the UK, which once again showcased the passion on the roadside for the sport with a world class field to entertain them.