The Tour de L'Ardèche is known as one of the toughest races on the women's calendar and today's stage did not disappoint. Sara Poidevin came across the line in ninth after some massive time gaps were created along the hilly parcours, which tackled five categorized climbs.
Heidi Franz managed to get into the day's break, taking the pressure off Poidevin and the rest of Rally Cycling.
"The girls worked super well in the first part of the race to ensure we were represented in the break," Poidevin said. "Having Heidi up the road was perfect leading into the climb, as it allowed the rest of us to sit in and conserve energy for all the climbing to come!"
Franz even managed to suck up some intermediate sprint points, taking them out of the game for competitors and helping Emma White to retain her purple jersey as leader of the classification.
"Having the sprint jersey leading into stage 3 is very exciting for us. It was one of our big goals for the week. Our team is in a good position to defend it with a six-point lead, but with five days to go, anything can happen. We're going to fight every day to contend for it."
It was a bruising day in the French mountains with high heat playing a factor, said Poidevin.
"I felt nauseous and overheated for the last 30km, and tried to hang on as long as I could, but didn't manage to stay with the top riders on the final climb. I really had nothing left at the end of the day. I'll keep fighting the rest of the week and we still have five more opportunities to go after stage wins and to keep Emma in the sprint jersey."
Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) doubled up on stage wins with another powerful performance and is clearly the woman to beat in the remaining stages. Tomorrow presents a flat route starting and ending in Avignon, and it should be a great opportunity for Australian sprinter Chloe Hosking.
Stage 2 Results
1. Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana)
2. Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria)
3. Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco - SVB)
4. Victorie Guilman (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope)
5. Paula Andrea Patiño (Movistar Team)
6. Sandra Levenez (Team Arkea)
7. Yara Kastelijn (Ciclismo Mondial)
8. Urška Žigart (Ale BTC Ljubljana)
9. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling)
10. Eri Yonamine (Ale BTC Ljubljana)
General Classification After Stage 2
1. Mavi Garcia (Ale BTC Ljubljana) 6:56:38
2. Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) +0:05
3. Lauren Stephens (Team Tibco - SVB) +0:42
9. Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) +6:48
Rush Classification After Stage 2
1. Emma White (Rally Cycling) 11pts
2. Jade Wiel (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futurescope) 6pts
3. Anna Kiesenhofer (Austria) 5pts
4. Heidi Franz (Rally Cycling) 5pts
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