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Wollaston edges world champ in sprint win

Kiwi cyclist Ally Wollaston has won the opening stage of the Volta Catlunya in Spain
Ally Wollaston (right) in the sprint finish win in Spain PHOTO: AG INSURANCE FRANCE SOUDAL

New Zealand cycling star Ally Wollaston scored a sprint finish victory on the opening stage of the Volta Catalunya women’s stage race in Spain.


Wollaston was placed perfectly to win the sprint finish for her AG Insurance-Soudal team over multi world champion Marianne Vos after a hilly 103km stage around Manresa, near Barcelona.


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The New Zealand rider lasted over the climb to produce an outstanding sprint finish to edge the three-time world and London Olympic road champion.


It adds to her early season World Tour win in the Tour Down Under, and a significant boost after Wollaston returned from injury and surgery.


The 23-year-old not only took the stage win but also the leader’s jersey on general classification, the lead in the sprint and young rider categories.

Wollaston is thrilled with the result.


“I am really happy to finish it off today after the team’s hard work and commitment. It sure feels good to get my season back on track.


“Half the peloton went the wrong way and I ended up at the back. I really thought I might be out of the race but my teammates were so good in bringing me back and straight to the front and just staying calm.


“With 300m to go my teammate did the perfect lead-out. I didn’t know I had won. I am really really happy.


“I didn’t expect it. It is one of my first races back after a pretty bad injury which needed surgery on my knee. To come back like this and win against Vos, I can’t put it into words. I am very happy.”


The team also gained the lead in the mountain jersey with Justine Ghekiere, who finished on the podium, after going clear in the lead over the climb.


“The race went perfectly according to plan,” said Sports Director Jolien D’Hoore. “Our goal was to go for the mountain jersey with Justine, and she took full points twice.


“We wanted to collect points in the intermediate sprint which we did and the final plan was to have Ally win the sprint. Everyone knew exactly what they had to do; we had perfectly calculated who should lead and where Ally should start her sprint. They executed the plan to perfection, so I couldn't ask for more. We won all the jerseys and the race.”


Tomorrow’s second stage is 96kms with a category one climb of Collada de Toses and the final climb to the finish, with the final stage of 87kms featuring a flat finish into Barcelona.


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