Rally Cycling came out swinging in their first stage race of the season with Krista Doebel-Hickok tearing up the climbs to win the QOM competition on the final stage of the Setmana Ciclista Valenciana. Doebel-Hickok’s performance comes hot on the heels of teammate Heidi Franz who pulled on the Best Sprinter’s jersey on stage 3 to make it two classification wins for the team.
“I feel proud, encouraged, and excited for what’s to come,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I’ve been racing to win. Whether that’s the stage on Friday or the jersey today. When I lost time on the opening day due to a mechanical I shifted my focus and chased the mountains classification. I’ll enjoy this jersey for a few days and then we’re back at it on Thursday.”
Franz, who featured in the breakaway on three of four stages, found renewed energy while sporting the pink Sprinter’s jersey on the final day to Alicante. There were no sprint points on offer so she could simply focus on emptying the tank to help the team.
“It was so special to wear pink today and I think it gave me some extra superpowers,” said Franz. “I managed to chase back to the peloton about four different times after being dropped on the climbs to help support Krista and Katie with bottles. I think the team really came together this week and supported each other with all the highs and lows. It’ll just keep getting better as the season progresses and I’m excited to be part of it.”
Both Franz and Doebel-Hickok spoke about their teammates following the final stage as four of them were caught up in a large wreck on stage 3. Holly Breck and Leigh Ann Ganzar decided not to start on Sunday as a result of their injuries while sprinter Olivia Ray was forced to abandon on the roadside due to a fractured fibula.
“The ladies had some really bad luck but they rode strong as a unit this week and proved they can fight hard in the Euro peloton,” said team director Joanne Kiesanowski. “Winning the sprint and mountains jerseys at this tour is a big deal. Lots of teamwork and hard work paying off after constantly animating the race from the get-go. I’m really proud of them.”
Next up is a series of Spanish one-days starting with the Emakumeen Nafarroako Classic on May 13.
Stage 4 results
1 ŽIGART Urška Team BikeExchange 3:30:13
2 FIDANZA Arianna Team BikeExchange 0:05
3 GUTIÉRREZ Sheyla Movistar Team ”
4 ALONSO Sandra Bizkaia Durango ”
5 SOTO Catalina Anais NXTG Racing ”
6 KLEIN Lisa Canyon SRAM Racing ”
7 TOMASI Laura Alé BTC Ljubljana ”
8 SILVESTRI Debora Top Girls Fassa Bortolo ”
9 BORGHESI Letizia Aromitalia – Basso Bikes – Vaiano ”
10 RODRÍGUEZ Sofia Sopela Women’s Team ”
11 BORGSTRÖM Julia NXTG Racing ”
12 VAN VLEUTEN Annemiek Movistar Team ”
13 AALERUD Katrine Movistar Team ”
14 ERASO Idoia Laboral Kutxa Fundación Euskadi ”
15 BIRYUKOVA Julia ”
16 GARCÍA Mavi Alé BTC Ljubljana ”
17 KERN Špela Massi – Tactic Women Team ”
18 CLOUSE Katie Rally Cycling Women ”
19 ANDRES Michelle Andy Schleck – CP NVST – Immo Losch ”
20 BENITO Mireia Massi – Tactic Women Team ”
Final QOM classification
1 DOEBEL-HICKOK Kristabel Rally Cycling Women 23
2 ENSING Janneke Team BikeExchange 21
3 SHAPIRA Omer Canyon SRAM Racing 20
4 GILL Nadine Michaela Bizkaia Durango 12
5 ŽIGART Urška Team BikeExchange 7
Final Sprints classifcation
1 Heidi Franz Rally Cycling 10
2 Omer Shapira CANYON//SRAM Racing 5
3 Debora Silvestri Top Girls Fassa Bortolo 4
4 Hannah Ludwig CANYON//SRAM Racing 3
5 Maria Martins Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur 3
6 Krista Doebel-Hickok Rally Cycling 1
7 Christina Schweinberger Doltcini-Van Eyck-Proximus 1
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