All Smiles (c)

Stevens wins Stage One of Gracia Orlova

Evelyn Stevens won Stage One of Gracia Orlova on thursday in a virtual repeat of her win at Fleche Wallone.

Winning at the top of a steep one kilometre climb, she took enough time out of her team-mate Ellen Van Dijk to take the leaders jersey going into stage three.

“I’m starting to really like these uphill finishes,” she said after the race. “I’m not sure what’s happening but i’m enjoying it.”

Teammates Ally Stacher and Katie Colclough spent the majority of the day defending the team’s lead against multiple attacks.
“They worked like dogs,” said Evie. “It was amazing. We went into the race in the perfect position and it all went to plan. Except at the end i wanted to try to lead out Trixi but i think i got a little over-excited and jumped too hard. I’ll have to make up for that.

The 105km race was undulating all day and finished on the steep 1km uphill section with cobbles on the final 300m.

“it was a hard finish on those cobbles,” said Evie. “I could definitely feel it.

Sharon Laws (AA Drink) took second place.

Team Director Ronny Lauke was again happy with the performance.

“Ellen, Trixi and Evie were able to rest today,” he said. “Katie and Ally did an amazing amount of work. But we needed to rest a little today as the next two days will be very interesting.
Tomorrow is the time trial and Saturday is another day like today.”