Rally UHC Cycling’s Krista Doebel-Hickok climbed to third place on stage two of the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under. After 115 kilometers of intense racing, the peloton hit the base of the final climb intact and Rally UHC Cycling’s newest signing shot off the front of the world-class field. She powered up the two-kilometer climb to the summit finish on Mengler Hill for the podium finish. The result moved Doebel-Hickok into third place overall with two stages remaining in the season opener.
The 117 km stage from Nuriootpa to Mengler Hill featured a finishing climb with gradients reaching 10 percent. The race’s defending champion Amanda Spratt (Mitchelton-Scott) attacked the lower slopes of the climb, while Doebel-Hickok duked it out for the remaining podium spots with Spratt’s teammate, Lucy Kennedy.
“It’s a huge relief and an amazing feeling to start the season with Rally UHC Cycling out with a bang,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I decided to risk it all and go early on the climb and it worked out. It’s better to try and fail than stay in my comfort zone.”
With stage two serving as the race’s queen stage, the team executed a plan to protect and position its newest climber.
“The team rode brilliantly,” said Doebel-Hickok. “I went into the final climb with no excuses. I didn’t have to waste energy positioning, I always had food and bottles, and I had the privilege of knowing all my teammates had done their best to make a team result possible.”
When asked if the team would take time to enjoy the result or immediately focus on defending her third place overall, Doebel-Hickok didn’t hesitate in her response.
“Both. We can enjoy this moment and carry the positive energy into the following stages and fight for an overall podium.”
Saturday’s 104 km stage to Stirling features three climbs and an uphill drag to the finish. Rally UHC Cycling will ride to protect Doebel-Hickok’s position while also taking a crack at the finish with Canadian Criterium Champion Sara Bergen.
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