CHONGMING ISLAND, China－Despite forecasts to the contrary, the first stage of China’s Tour of Chongming Island was a cold and wet affair, as Garmin-Cervélo’s Elizabeth Armitstead scored her first international stage victory and Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Highroad) grabbed the overall lead on the strength of sprint bonus times.
The 22-year-old Armitstead powered up to turn in a strong sprint to win at the end of a 73.4km route.
Teutenberg who got won yellow jersey in the 2010 Tour of Chongming island, scored both GC and points classification leads after eanring 11 seconds in bonus time by winning two intermediate sprints along the way. She now leads Armitstead by one second on GC.
“Cold weather?” Armitstead said after the race. “It’s a little bit cold but I have no problem to race in cold.”
The weather did pose a problem, however, for Asian riders, with the day’s best rider from the continent, Maneephan Jutatip (Thailand national team) noting that she felt “a big temperature fluctuation between Thailand and Chongming island today, I prefer to race in hot and today is freezing, but nevertheless I fought to get the ticket for London Olympic.”
The peloton stayed together throughout, with not a single successful break forming. The stage was marked by a number of punctures and at least 10 crashes due to slippery roads and technical corners.
Four riders from China Chongming-Giant Pro Cycling team were involved in one mishap, much to the disappointment of local rider Huang Li, who said her poor ride embarrassed her in front of her parents and hometown.
“Happiness, sadness all melt in one day,” said Armitstead. “It is my second race in China and it is my first Chongming stage win, I’m very pleased to have won in a bunch sprint.”
The Tour of Chongming Island continues through Friday, incorporating three stages and a total of 271km.
Thursday’s stage will feature a 118.4km ride from Chengqiao Town again, this time heading north to the top edge of the island and Chongxi province.
TOUR of CHONGMING ISLAND 2011
1.Armitstead Elizabeth (Garmin Cervélo) 1:49:22
2.Teutenberg Ina-Yoko (HTC Highroad Women) 1:49:22
3.Van Vleuten Annemiek (Nederland Bloeit) 1:49:22
4.Baccaille Monia (Mcipollini-Giambenini) 1:49:22
5.Johansson Emma (Hitec Products-UCK) 1:49:22
1.Teutenberg Ina-Yoko (HTC Highroad Women) 1:49:10
2.Armitstead Elizabeth (Garmin Cervélo) 1:49:11
3.Van Vleuten Annemiek (Nederland Bloeit) 1:49:18
4.Johansson Emma (Hitec Products-Uck) 1:49:20
5.Tamayo M Lauren (U.S. National Team) 1:49:21