Grace Brown led an FDJ-Suez podium sweep in the undulating opening time trial of the Bretagne Ladies Tour on Wednesday. The Australian champion clocked the fastest time on the 18.9km circuit around Grandchamp, finishing 53 seconds ahead of her teammate Amber Kraak.

Amber Kraak, who took second place, expressed her thoughts on the race: “It was a challenging course, and Grace was simply on another level today. The team did an exceptional job, and we’re thrilled with the results.”

The FDJ-Suez team showcased their dominance with Marie Le Net finishing third at 1:01 and Alessia Vigilia rounding out the top four at 1:11. Thalita De Jong from Lotto Dstny was the best of the rest, coming in fifth at 1:14 behind Brown.

De Jong, reflecting on her performance, shared, “I knew from the past that I was good at time trialling, but it’s always adapting again. We don’t train much on this discipline, and after the Vuelta, there hasn’t been time to focus on it. I won’t become a specialist, but the equipment we use is top-notch, I rode nice lines, and I have the power. That’s why I’m very happy with this fifth place today.”

Grace Brown

The next stage of the Bretagne Ladies Tour sees the riders tackling a tough 138.2km route from Plouigneau to Ploujean. With her commanding lead in the overall classification, Brown is well-positioned to extend her advantage in the coming days. The FDJ-Suez team’s strength was evident, and their riders filled the top spots, marking them as the team to watch.

In the general classification, Brown’s time trial victory gives her a solid lead as the race progresses towards stages featuring more elevation and challenges suited to both climbers and sprinters. Thalita De Jong, who has already shown her prowess in different disciplines this season, hopes to continue her strong performances in the upcoming stages. “We’ll have long stages, with some elevation. Climbing suits me well; I learned that in Spain. Here in Brittany, it’s a bit less steep, which should suit me even better. I’ll start tomorrow in the mountain jersey. We ride on narrow roads here, so positioning will also be key. I hope we still get an exciting race,” she said.

With a powerful performance in the opening time trial, Brown has set the stage for a thrilling race, with other competitors like De Jong ready to challenge in the subsequent stages. As the race continues, all eyes will be on how the FDJ-Suez team capitalises on their strong start.

2024 Bretagne Ladies Tour Stage 1 result

Results powered by