Stage One Women’s race WE2.1
The first stage of the Tour de Free State WE2.1 race was a tough event which really tested the women’s stamina, strength and strategy. The cyclists had to contend with a flat surface and a strong side wind blowing from the west. At an average speed of 43km per hour, the race was hard and extremely fast with few opportunities to break away. This makes the victory of the Ukraine’s National team’s number 1 cyclist, Alona Andruk that much more impressive as she only arrived in South Africa this morning after their flight was delayed for a day.
Robyn de Groot from South Africa made the first break just outside Virginia but the squad caught her within two minutes. As a result of the strong wind the cyclists soon kept to the gutter on the left forming a long line. This resulted in several falls as the cyclists at the back put a lot of pressure on the cyclists up at the front and as leaders fell back, they started to crash into each other.
The sprinters’ only had the opportunity to break away as they took a turn to the finishing line about five minutes before the end of the race. Adruk’s win was a big surprise in 2hours 2 min and 2 seconds. The world’s number three cyclist, Emma Johansson from Sweden of Team HiTech Products Misterl Home came second in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 3 seconds with Team Rusvelo’s Olga Zabelenskya from Russia just one second behind her.
The first South African to cross the finishing line was Ashley Pasio Moolman from Team Lotto Balisol in ninth place in 2 hours, 2 minutes and 40 seconds.
Stage 2 will have a neutral start on the corner of Church Street and Central Street in Jagersfontein at 11: 45. The start is at 12:00 on the R 704 outside Jagersfontein. At 14: 05 they will reach Bloemfontein and continue into Currie avenue from 14:10. They will turn into Vereniging Road from around 14: 10 take the slipway into Ferreira Street and then into Monument Road at about 14:15. They finish at the Museum of the Boer Republics where they turn into Memorial Road and end on the Show Grounds back road at approximately 14:20.
Motorists are asked to make sure they travel on the R704 before 11:00 and after 14:30 if they do not want to be stuck behind the squad. Currie Avenue, Vereniging Road, Ferreira Street and Monument Avenue will be out of bounds from 13: 50 to 14:30.