Former world champion Marta Bastianelli claimed her first-ever AJ Bell Women’s Tour stage victory in Banbury, Oxfordshire, on Monday following a perfectly-timed sprint.

Bastianelli (Alé BTC Ljubljana) managed to pass Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo) and FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope’s Clara Copponi in sight of the line to take the win and the race’s first leader’s jersey of 2021.

Her victory was also the first for an Italian rider at the AJ Bell Women’s Tour since stage two of the inaugural edition in May 2014.

Speaking after the finish, Bastianelli said: “It’s a very nice win for me.  There are lots of people, lots of babies, for me it is good, because I think of my daughter.

“There was a crash with 1km to go, and luckily I did not crash but I am sorry for those that did.  I started the sprint in third position, and for me it was the maximum because my coach has seen me win sprints from there.

“The sprint was not easy because it is a little bit tougher and uphill, and I think it is not for the sprinters, but for me it is a good race and a good day.”


Video: watch highlights from stage one of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour

The highest-placed British rider was Hannah Barnes (Canyon SRAM Racing) in sixth, while defending champion Lizzie Deignan (Trek – Segafredo) finished 40th, 26 seconds down, after working for team-mate Hosking.

Bastianelli also claimed the Sigma Sports points jersey by virtue of her stage victory. Nina Kessler (Team TIBCO Silicon Valley Bank) holds the Eisberg sprints jersey and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) took the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains.

Highlights of stage one will be shown on ITV4 at 9pm on Monday and available on demand via the ITV Hub.

Stage two of the AJ Bell Women’s Tour starts and finishes in Walsall tomorrow (Tuesday 5 October) and features 10 laps of a 10-kilometre circuit around the ŠKODA Queen of the Mountains climb of Barr Beacon.  The 102.2-kilometre (63.6-mile) stage starts from Walsall Arboretum at 11:30am and is due to finish on Lichfield Street in the town centre around 2:25pm.

The AJ Bell Women’s Tour is sponsored by AJ Bell, one of the UK’s leading online investment platforms, helping people invest for the long term via ISAs, pensions and general investment accounts.  It has a rich history of supporting elite level sport including badminton, cricket, rugby, squash and triathlon, and recently sponsored the men’s AJ Bell Tour of Britain in September, won by Wout van Aert.

Click here for full results from stage one, presented by Brother UK.