Festival Elsy Jacobs: Wollaston takes overall victory with stage 2 win

 Ally Wolllaston (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep)
Ally Wolllaston (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep)

Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-Soudal-QuickStep) sprinted to victory on the concluding second stage of the Festival Elsy Jacobs, beating race leader Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) and grabbing the overall win in a turnaround from Saturday's opener.

The duo were part of an elite lead group which broke away late on during the hilly stage, with Anouska Koster (Uno-X) finishing third once again.

“I made a really major mistake yesterday, taking a wrong turn before the finish, and I had a lot of motivation for today and I’m really happy to pull off the win today,” said Wollaston, adding that the nerves were high in the final kilometres of the tight GC battle.

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“I was panicking a little bit, I looked up and saw some really key girls up the road and just thought that if I had hesitated they’d be gone. I had my DS on the radio saying ‘you need to go now’ so that’s exactly what I did, I brought Marta across a few times, but I knew I had to to win."

A group of 13 riders came to the line together after several attacks on the hilly course inside the final 10km provoked splits at the front. All the major contenders were up there and, despite several attacks from Eleonora Gasparrini (UAE Team ADQ) in the final 5km, the group sprinted it out for the stage in Garnich.

With Wollaston and Bastianelli both finished first and second once apiece, the overall came down to bonus seconds. In the end, the 22-year-old prevailed by just one second. Koster took third overall at 14 seconds.

The wins are Wollaston's first in Europe for 2023, but add to an impressive haul already accumulated closer to home earlier this season. The rider claimed the New Zealand National Championships elite criterium and road race titles, along with the U23 time trial win, as well as winning the Schwalbe Classic criterium, the curtain-raiser event for the Tour Down Under, in January.

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