Marta Bastianelli opened the account at the earliest opportunity for her newly reformulated UAE-ADQ team Sunday.
Bastianelli launched a sizzling sprint at the Vuelta CV Feminas to cross the line ahead of Ilaria Sanguineti (Valcar-Travel&Service) and Barbara Guarischi (Movistar), putting her name against the first race of the women’s season.
The score makes for a perfect start for Bastianelli’s UAE-ADQ WorldTour team, which took control of Alé BTC Ljubljana over the winter. Bastianelli, a former winner of the Vuelta CV Feminas and 2007 world champion, hailed her teammates in their strong start in new colors.
“It’s very nice to win here for a second time in Valencia,” she said. “I’m very happy for the new team, and with the new jersey, it’s a good start for them. And I’m happy for my teammates because they worked hard for me. For me it’s difficult to sprint now because I’m not a real sprinter anymore.”
The fast, flat, 1.1 level race saw a stack of lower-division teams at the start along with Bastianelli and Guarischi’s UAE and Movistar WorldTour crews. The newly formed Uno-X Women’s WorldTour team was also in action for the first time after it hatched this winter.
Bastianelli’s teammates made a statement of intent in their first race in the UAE jersey.
The Emirati team kept toward the front through the fast, wide approach to the Valencia city sprint after the peloton had stayed together through the final 20km of racing. A flurry of skirmishes went off the front in the approach to the city, but the five-lane highways saw them easily swatted away by the charging bunch.
UAE put two riders on the front heading into the closing kilometers as Movistar and Uno-X muscled for space behind.
Bastianelli’s crew opened things up before Sussanne Andersen (Uno-X) kicked early. The Norweigan faded fast, leaving Bastianelli to come off her wheel and power to the line relatively unchallenged.
“We know that we will have to face other very strong teams later in the season, but I think we showed today that we are up to the task,” Bastianelli said. “It was important to test our train and we started in the best way.”
Sanguineti followed Bastianelli’s draft to come speeding past a challenge from Guarischi and score second-place.
Andersen dropped through the speeding bunch after her acceleration lost its luster and nudged Chiara Consonni (Valcar), who tumbled to the deck, bringing one other down with her.
Women’s racing resumes at the Setmana Valenciana-Volta Comunitat Valenciana Fémines on February 17. The classics kickstart with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad later this month ahead of WorldTour opener Strade Bianche.