Parkinson crowned Best Young Rider in Benidorm
Stage four was always going to be the decisive GC day. Coming into this race, both team and DS suspected it would be a race for the mountain goats, however, after stage one, it became clear that some of the strong sprinters were indeed climbing very well. As the tour went on, and the yellow jersey changed hands, due to sprint bonuses, and sprint finishes, it was now time for the climbers to truly have their day.
The pre-race meeting was simple and clear. We want a hard race, as this is our only opportunity to improve upon GC, and keep the best young rider jersey. This is where trust in each other comes in to play. Abby-Mae’s closest rival for the best young rider jersey, was on paper, perhaps a better climber, however, Abby-Mae’s sheer determination is what would see her persevere in such a hard stage.
As the gun went, to start stage four of the Setmana Ciclista Valencia, Anna Christian led the pace out of the town of Benidorm, and straight on to the climb of the day. The pace was on from the start, and it was clear Canyon-SRAM wanted a tough race, a race that would drop GC leader Marta Bastinelli.
As the climb kicked up, we had three riders in the front group of 37 riders. By the top of the QOM, the situation looked to playing into our hands, however, as the riders crested the QOM, which was more a sprint than anything, some relaxed a bit too much and slipped to the back for a moment. This one moment would prove to be the race deciding moment. As the peloton came flying down a descent, they were met by a switch back at the moment, and a steep ascent following. If you were not top 10 into this point, and climbing very strong, your race was soon to be over.
Unfortunately, our strongest climber of the week Kathrin, missed the move of 9 riders consisting of the best climbers in the race. Over the top of the climb, the second group reformed into 25 riders, with 3 of Trek-Drops present.
The front group of 9, with Hannah Barnes and Ashleigh Moolman, 2nd and 3rd respectively on GC, committed 100 percent, and the time gap quickly went out to 1 minute. This is where Kathrin and Tayler needed to make a decision about the race tactic. Having missed the front group, and having no allies in the bunch other than Ale-Cipollini, the odds were against the team in ever seeing the front group again. Kathrin and Tayler committed to Abby-Mae for the remainder of the race, as her closest competitor was in the group of 25 and only 3 seconds down.
Coming in to the final 1km the team did the perfect lead out for Abby-Mae, where she placed second in the bunch kick for 10th. Tayler and Kathrin rolled in just behind, having done strong lead out. The end result shows Abby-Mae 11th, Tayler Wiles 13th and Kathrin Hammes 12th on GC, with Abby-Mae taking out the Best Young Rider classification.
DS, Loren Rowney commented
“Usually when a DS looks at the results and sees that the riders have come 11th. 12th, 13th they would sit there and think what happened? This was not the case at all. I saw the team fight all week, and yesterday really impressed me, by their sheer commitment to securing the jersey for Abby-Mae. I know Kathrin was frustrated that she missed the front move, a move she would have stayed in 100 percent. However, that is bike racing, and she quickly changed her mentality to work hard for Abby-Mae. Tayler was struggling all day on the bike, however, whenever the opportunity arose that the roads flattened out, she was straight to the front helping Abby Mae. I’m really proud of their efforts this week. It has been a big learning curve for some of the riders, which is exactly what we want before we head in to the World Tour races"