American Carmen Small assumed the overall lead at Euskal Emakumeen XXIX Bira Thursday by slipping off the front with Wiggle – High5’s Emma Johansson in stage 1. Johansson won the day, and her teammate, Giorgia Bronzini, claimed third in the 76.6km race around Eskoriatza, Spain.
“I attacked over the second climb,” Small said. “That was our tactic for the day, to go there and see if I can hold it to the finish. If we stayed away, I would take the jersey, and if we were caught, Lotta [Lepisto] would then hold the jersey.”
After the prologue time trial, Small’s Cervelo – Bigla teammate Lotta Lepisto was in the lead at the four-day race through Spain’s Basque region. Lepisto finished fourth Thursday to stay in the top-three overall. Small is now 12 seconds ahead of her Finnish teammate with Swede Johansson rounding out the GC podium in third.
Friday’s stage 2 will be a 109.5km race with a category 3 climb to the finish in Urkiola.