Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson took her first UCI Women’s WorldTour podium since returning to the road after the Commonwealth Games as the opening stage of the tour of California finished in the expected bunch sprint. The South Australian crossed the line in third place, behind Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB) and Emma White (Rally Cycling) at the end of the entirely flat 124km stage in Elk Grove.
“Usually you wouldn’t be happy with third but I feel like it was a cool result,” Edmondson smiled. “We had a good race; the girls were really, really good, they covered absolutely every dangerous move, they were represented in everything, and did a perfect job.
“They were also up the front the whole time, so I was able to relax, and just chill out and do my thing.”
With virtually no topological features to provide attacking opportunities on the flat Delta region course, and with so many fast finishers in the peloton, it was almost impossible for breakaways to get established. Two riders managed to get clear in the middle part of the stage, but were easily pulled back in time for a bunch sprint.
“The race was pretty tight the whole time, I don’t think any of the sprint teams wanted any break to get too far ahead, and because of the direction of the wind it was only about a minute gap and it was a little bit too hard for two riders to stay away,” Edmondson explained.
“We put together a bit of a train coming into the final, and we were pretty organised, but then it did get a bit messy so I ended up using the Sunweb train. But because of the headwind, Sunweb actually ran out of riders, so Coryn [Rivera] was forced to lead out early. So I used her, but I think I hesitated and I think I needed to go a bit early.”
The Wiggle High5 team will carry the lessons of stage one into the third stage, a criterium around the stage capital, Sacramento, but before that Edmondson is keen to see what Amy Gillett scholar Grace Brown will be able to do in the high-altitude second stage in South Lake Tahoe.
“There were a few things that we could have tidied up personally, and also as a team, but I think it was cool because we obviously had a debutant in Grace, and a return back from Macey [Stewart],” Edmondson said. “So I think it was a good team effort and we’ve definitely learnt a lot going into the third stage on Saturday.
“But first we’ve got a big mountain to get over tomorrow,” she laughed. “Most of us aren’t looking forward to it, but we’ll see how Grace can go. She’d like to have a good one, so we’re going to give her the opportunity.”
1. Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB)
2. Emma White (Rally Cycling)
3. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
Photo Credit: Vélofocus