Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Nettie Edmondson won the opening prologue of the BeNe Ladies Tour to take the first leader’s jersey of the 2017 race. The former double track World Champion completed the 1.9km course, along the seafront of Vlissingen, on the very south-western tip of the Netherlands, in a time of two minutes, 25.47 seconds, in an average speed of 47172kph. Edmondson was four seconds faster than Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini) in second place, and five faster than former black and orange rider Elinor Barker (Great Britain) in third.
“It was really, really good today,” Edmondson said. “I really wanted to focus on this prologue because it suits me. It’s really short and fast, and was all about power, so it was perfect for me. It was a little bit technical at the start, but then it was all about powering home for the last kilometre. It was into a headwind so I made sure I had a little bit left in the tank, and then came home as strong as I could.
“So yeah, I was really happy with the ride!”
Edmondson takes the first pale blue jersey of the race, which has been won by Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling’s Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore in the last two years. In the absence of D’hoore, Edmondson herself will look to overall ambitions in the three day race, but the Australian knows what a challenge that will present.
“We have three road stages to go and a 10km time trial,” Edmondson explained. “The road stages are flat with cobbles, so they're going to be nice and tough, but we’ve got a really strong team here so we’re looking to hold the jersey as long as we can, and I’ll just give it a crack in the time trial.
“It’s 10km, so a little bit longer than I prefer, but we’ve just got to do what we can and hold on to the jersey as long as possible.”
Edmondson arrived at the BeNe Ladies Tour after having ridden eight stages of the Giro Rosa. The planned withdrawal from the ten-day Italian race was specifically to allow the Australian to prepare for the opening prologue, which has paid off in spectacular style.
“I wasn’t sure about how I’d go with the Giro for preparation, but I really needed to get some racing in the legs,” she smiled. “It was all about taking it easy for the last five days, but I just didn’t know what to expect here. I was really hoping for a good one, but you never know until you’re out there. It’s such a fine line with only a few seconds in it, so I just had to give it everything, and luckily I pulled it off!”
1. Annette Edmondson (Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling)
2. Janneke Ensing (Alé-Cipollini)
3. Elinor Barker (Great Britain)
England hold their nerve to make it through to the World Cup Final at a sold-out Lord's on Sunday.