4 weeks ago by Oskar Scarsbrook

Daria Pikulik wins stage one of the Santos Tour Down Under

Movement
Pole powers to victory on the opening day of the Women’s WorldTour

Photos: @gettysport

Polish speedster Daria Pikulik made program history by sprinting to a phenomenal victory on the opening day of the Santos Tour Down Under. The win is Human Powered Health’s first in the Women’s WorldTour, with Pikulik also topping the standings in the iconic ochre leader’s jersey and sprint jersey after stage one of three. 

“It feels amazing to win our first Women’s WorldTour tour race today with my new team,” Pikulik said after the finish. “I knew that we could win before the race and everybody believed in me so it’s a really nice feeling and gives me so much motivation.”


In a picture book sprint, using her large arsenal of track cycling skills, Pikulik weaved her way through the final kilometer with the help of Lily Williams and Kaia Schmid. Then having found a clear lane, the Pole put her head down, powering to the line ahead of Clara Coponni (FDJ – SUEZ) and Georgia Baker (Team Jayco AlUla). 

20-year-old Schmid held on for seventh, placing her second in the best young rider classification 

“The tactic was to be in the front because we know that will be a really strong wind,” Pikulik explained. “But I like conditions like that so for me it was the perfect last kilometer.” 


Truly a shared victory, the entire team put in the work to provide Pikulik with the perfect lead-out. By staying in contention throughout the finale and surfing off other teams, the squad was able to keep everyone as fresh as possible for the final dash to the line. 

I knew we had the horsepower within the team to win today and take the leader’s jersey,” team director in Australia, Joanne Kiesanowski, said afterward. “We needed to stay calm and know where the important points of the race were as to save energy for those.”

With a crosswind whipping across the plains of Onkaparinga inside the finale, a split occurred late on with Trek-Segafredo putting the hammer down on the front of the bunch. Mustering all her time trial experience, Williams was able to shepherd Pikulik through the danger.

Williams and Henrietta Christie protect Pikulik in the wind as she fuels for the final stages.


“I knew we were in for a good result when both Lily and Daria made the split of 12 riders in the crosswinds,” Kiesanowski added. “It then came back together and the whole team rode great together and communicated so well to make sure Daria had the best lead-out to the line.” 

This team spirit was certainly on display for all to see. Mere moments after a one-armed victory salute, Pikulik reached for her radio and bellowed words of praise and elation.

“The girls helped me all the race to keep my legs fresh for the finish,” Pikulik said of her teammates. “I want to thank all the girls and staff for today. We made the win together.”


Speaking to Australian television, Pikulik captured the hearts of fans around the world. 

“I am just a Polish rider making my dream come true,” she beamed modestly. 

She also heaped praise on her new Felt AR aero race bike. 

I really like this bike. It’s really stiff so it’s easier to be in the sprinting position.”

 

 

The result caps off an incredible opening weekend for Human Powered Health after Dutch rider Nina Buijsman finished in third place at the opening Schwalbe Classic, a criterium held the day before stage one.

Tomorrow, the stage takes the peloton from Birdwood to Uraidla via an undulating 90km long route. A profile that goes uphill until the main trigger point at Mount Lofty, stage 2 will see general classification contenders come to the fore. 

Human Powered Health will be resplendent at the head of the action defending the jersey.

Santos Tour Down Under stage 1 result
1 PIKULIK Daria – Human Powered Health 10” 3:03:01
2 COPPONI Clara – FDJ – SUEZ 6” ”
3 BAKER Georgia – Team Jayco AlUla 4” ”
4 COLES-LYSTER Maggie – Zaaf Cycling Team ”
5 SPRATT Amanda – Trek – Segafredo ”
6 WOLLASTON Ally – New Zealand ”
7 SCHMID Kaia – Human Powered Health ”
8 SANGUINETTI Ilaria – Trek – Segafredo ”
9 STEWART Lucinda – ARA Skip Capital Sunshine Coast ”
10 CHAPMAN Brodie – Trek – Segafredo ”

Santos leader’s jersey standings
1 PIKULIK Daria – Human Powered Health 10” 3:02:51
2 COPPONI Clara – FDJ – SUEZ 6” 0:04
3 BAKER Georgia – Team Jayco AlUla 4” 0:06
4 BROWN Grace – FDJ – SUEZ 3” 0:07
5 MANLY Alexandra – Team Jayco AlUla 2” 0:08
6 ROSEMAN-GANNON Ruby – Team Jayco AlUla 1” 0:09
7 COLES-LYSTER Maggie – Zaaf Cycling Team 0:10
8 SPRATT Amanda – Trek – Segafredo ”
9 WOLLASTON Ally – New Zealand ”
10 SCHMID Kaia – Human Powered Health ”

Ziptrak sprint jersey standings
1 PIKULIK Daria – Human Powered Health 30 points
2 COPPONI Clara – FDJ – SUEZ 25
3 BAKER Georgia – Team Jayco AlUla 22
4 COLES-LYSTER Maggie – Zaaf Cycling Team 19
5 SPRATT Amanda – Trek – Segafredo 17
6 WOLLASTON Ally – New Zealand 15
7 SCHMID Kaia – Human Powered Health 13
8 SANGUINETTI Ilaria – Trek – Segafredo 11
9 STEWART Lucinda – ARA Skip Capital Sunshine Coast 9
10 CHAPMAN Brodie – Trek – Segafredo 7

Zwift young rider’s standings
1 WOLLASTON Ally – New Zealand 3:03:01
2 SCHMID Kaia – Human Powered Health ”
3 STEWART Lucinda – ARA Skip Capital Sunshine Coast ”