Sport Cycling Lorena Wiebes wins first stage of women’s Tour de France
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Lorena Wiebes wins first stage of women’s Tour de France

Lorena Wiebes punches the air after winning the first stage of the women's Tour de France. Photo: AP
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Dutch sprint star Lorena Wiebes has won the opening stage of the women’s Tour de France and claimed the first yellow jersey of the resurrected race on the Champs-Elysees.

The DSM rider, the pre-stage favourite, timed her sprint to perfection to beat her great compatriot Marianne Vos and Belgian Lotte Kopecky in Sunday’s landmark race.

For the first time in 33 years and after a long campaign, Tour de France organisers ASO have granted the top female professionals an official multi-stage race.

“It’s incredible. The girls worked tirelessly for me. It was a very long sprint, but I was expecting it as I was getting ready for Marianne Vos to go early,” Wiebe said.

“I’m so happy. We’ve had a great season so far. I managed to accelerate one last time when Marianne was next to me.”

Sunday’s 81.7-kilometre opener around the streets of the French capital was marked by the crash of Belgium’s Alana Castrique, who was taken into an ambulance on a stretcher after falling hard on her back.

Overall, Wiebes leads Vos by four seconds by virtue of time bonuses, with Kopecky third, six seconds off the pace.

The leading Australian on the opening stage was Canyon/SRAM Racing’s Tiffany Cromwell, who finished 11th, one place ahead of her compatriot, Nicole Frain, of Parkhotel Valkenburg.

Sunday’s ride was the first of eight stages covering a total of 1033 kilometres over mountains, flat terrain and gravel, ending on the brutal climb to La Super Planche des Belles Filles on July 31.

-Reuters