Americans have come to race at the 28th Internationale Thüringen Rundfahrt der Frauen. Katie Hall (U.S. National Team) sprinted to victory in stage 6, winning a two-up sprint against Amanda Spratt (Orica-AIS) after the duo escaped the peloton with 25km remaining. This follows Coryn Rivera’s (U.S. National Team) win on Tuesday, also from a breakaway move.
“We worked well together to establish our lead,” Hall said after the stage. “In the end, it didn’t come back together, and I was really happy to be able to sprint for the win.”
The sixth stage of Thüringen Rundfahrt, a 129.5km circuit around Schleiz, was the queen stage of this year’s race.
Around 60km into the stage, the peloton was whittled down, as the riders faced the major climb of the day. Only 42 of 83 riders finished with the lead group behind the breakaway duo of Hall and Spratt.
“It got really aggressive with about 30km to go,” Hall said. “Coryn Rivera, Allie Dragoo, and Alexis Ryan all put in attacks before Emma Johansson attacked as we caught the remnants of the break, and her teammate Amanda Spratt countered her attack.”
Hall quickly jumped onto Spratt’s wheel, and the duo worked well together to establish a gap. “[Spratt] was really motivated to get as big a gap as possible, as she was in a high GC position,” Hall said.
As the two pushed the pace up front, Ryan, another UnitedHealthcare rider representing the national team in Germany, was waiting in the wings. “It was great to know Alexis was in the group behind me and could go for the sprint.”
The duo would outlast the peloton and finish 40 seconds in front of the reduced bunch. Hall’s stage win is not only the second win in a row for the U.S. team at Thüringen Rundfahrt, but also the second in a row for UnitedHealthcare riders. Rivera won stage 5 out of an 11-rider breakaway.
The escape moved Hall into 10th in the general classification, 1:46 behind Lisa Brennauer (Velocio-SRAM). Brennauer finished safely in the peloton to retain her leader’s jersey. American Lauren Stephens (Tibco-SVB) is second overall at 20 seconds with Lotta Lepisto (Bigla) rounding out the podium 29 seconds back.
The race concludes Thursday with a circuit around the city of Greiz. The course is up and down for most of the stage, coupled with a technical downhill finish, gaps could open up on the final day of racing.
Heading into La Course on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday, the spirit is high on the U.S. national team, especially among the UnitedHealthcare riders. “We have some really strong sprinters and a strong team behind them for La Course,” Hall said.
“Getting more experience in Europe with the National Team is super helpful to us going into La Course with UHC.”