Daria Pikulik captured her second Women’s WorldTour podium of the season by sprinting to third place on the opening stage at the Tour of Chongming Island in China.
Having navigated her way through a tight squeeze on the barrier, thanks to a wide finish straight, the 26-year-old managed to maneuver herself into daylight. Pikulik was then visibly the quickest, accelerating fast but late, running out of road to overhaul Georgia Baker (Team Jayco AlUla) and victor Mylène De Zoete (CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling).
“I am a sprinter so when we cross the last 10km I feel the adrenaline, and the caffeine gel starts working so I knew I will try and it felt good,” she said after the finish. “If I was in a better position in the last 500 meters I would finish higher but we still have so many chances left to fight for the win.”
Talking through the finish tactics, Pikulik explained that she followed the Team Jayco AlUla lead-out and because of her small stature and narrow Vision Tech USA handlebars, she was able to squeeze through against the barriers.
“I didn’t want to take any risks, but it was a good choice,” she said. “That’s also a skill from track where it’s all about not being scared.”
“Like always they kept me calm and safe by asking me how I am and what I need, so I’m very grateful to them and the staff and we’re enjoying China,” she said.
Tomorrow’s stage tours the east of Chongming Island, finishing the opposite way on the same wide finish straight from stage one. Stage one’s technical final left hander is replaced by a right hand corner where a strong lead out will prove decisive.
“I still have fast legs,” Pikulik said. “Tomorrow we will try and be in a better position. The last corner is 300 meters to the finish line so I will need to fight for this position and then follow someone else and I hope for another good result. More passion, more energy like always.”
Tour of Chongming Island stage one results
1 DE ZOETE Mylène – CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling 10” 2:34:47
2 BAKER Georgia – Team Jayco AlUla 6” ”
3 PIKULIK Daria – Human Powered Health 4” ”
4 CONSONNI Chiara – UAE Team ADQ 3” ”
5 FIDANZA Martina – CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling ”
6 ZENG Luyao – China ”
7 BARBIERI Rachele – Liv Racing TeqFind ”
8 GRIFFIN Mia – Israel Premier Tech Roland ”
9 DANFORD Georgia – Team Coop – Hitec Products ”
10 COLES-LYSTER Maggie – Israel Premier Tech Roland ”