Photos: Arne Mil
Sprinting in lightning-fast fashion, Daria Pikulik stormed to her second win of the season on stage 4 of the Bretagne Ladies Tour.
Having won the opening day of the Women’s World Tour in a sprint at the Tour Down Under, the Pole has been dogged by misfortune with a crash-marred spring. A recent second place finish a Leidel Koerse and today’s victory marks an emphatic return to top speed form for the 26-year-old.
“I am really happy about this because I needed it to feel myself again,” Pikulik said after the finish. “The team really deserves this because we’ve been trying really hard so today is a perfect day for us.”
Pikulik was positioned well into the final twisting kilometer by Lily Williams, before jumping into clear air beside Ariana Fidanza (CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling) in Kervignac.
“From the beginning of the race we tried to be on the front as much as we can and in the last circuit as well,” Pikulik said of the team tactics. “All the girls did a really good job and we were thinking we could go with Audrey for the win to get bonus seconds but we lost each other so I heard on the radio to go and finish hard.”
Having earmarked Fidanza and Martina Alzini (Cofidis Women Team) as the wheels to follow, Pikulik then timed her sprint to perfection, putting her nose into the wind and outsprinting the two Italians up the rising false flat to the line.
As well as her sprinting prowess, of course, one thing that is well known within the team is her always immaculate nails. She must have known she would have to stand out on the podium because the Pole made sure to give them a fresh coat before stage 4.
“Yes, I did my nails before the stage,” she laughs. “It’s helpful for feelings. From stage to stage I feel better but in the first part of this race I didn’t feel so great but this is cycling sometimes you feel terrible and you win and sometimes you feel great and have a crash, that’s cycling.”
She was also quick to praise those who had helped her through a rough patch of the season.
“Thank you to all the riders, the staff and sponsors for keeping their belief in us,” she finished.
The Bretagne Ladies Tour concludes tomorrow on a rolling circuit around Saint-Jean-Brévelay. Team leader, French champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot sits in fourth place on the general classification, 36 seconds behind the leader. The local Breton will look to take advantage of the hilly parcours with eyes on the podium.
Catch the conclusion of the race live on the Bretagne Ladies Tour Facebook page from 8 am CT on Saturday.
Bretagne Ladies Tour stage 4 result
1 PIKULIK Daria – Human Powered Health 3:27:22
2 FIDANZA Ariana – CERATIZIT-WNT Pro Cycling ”
3 ALZINI Martina – Cofidis Women Team ”
4 MARTINS Maria – Fenix-Deceuninck ”
5 VIGILIA Alessia – Top Girls Fasso Bortolo ”
General classification standings after stage 4
1 BROWN Grace – FDJ-Suez 10:08:31
2 DEMAY Coralie – St Michel – Mavic – Auber93 WE 0:13
3 VIGILIA Alessia – Top Girls Fasso Bortolo 0:22
4 CORDON-Ragot Audrey – Human Powered Health 0:36
5 WLODARCZYK Dominika – MAT Atom Deweloper Wrocław 0:44