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AG Insurance – Soudal got off to an excellent start at the Volta a Catalunya, which kicked off on Friday afternoon, with a hilly 100km stage held around Manresa. After a fast race, Ally Wollaston still had enough left to produce a fantastic sprint to beat Marianne Vos (Visma-Lease a Bike), scoring her second victory of the season, after the one on the opening stage of the Tour Down Under, in January.

Thanks to this spectacular success, the 23-year-old Kiwi became the first leader of the three-day event, which is set to conclude on Sunday, in Barcelona. Ally was joined on the podium by her AG Insurance – Soudal teammates Justine Ghekiere, who claimed the mountain jersey thanks to a solid ride in the breakaway, and Mireia Benito, who won the jersey for the best Catalan rider.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t all perfect for our squad, as Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio was forced to abandon the race after being involved in a crash with 600 meters to go. She was taken to the hospital, where further examinations will provide clarification.

“The race went perfectly according to plan. Our goal was to go for the mountain jersey with Justine, and she took full points twice, thanks to a very strong Mireia. She did the lead-out for Justine each time and also picked up points for the mountain jersey herself. So, Plan A was successful. Next, we wanted to collect points in the intermediate sprint with Kim, and she won it, making Plan B a success. The final plan was to have Ally win the sprint. Everyone knew exactly what they had to do; we had perfectly calculated who should lead and where Ally should start her sprint. They executed the plan to perfection, so I couldn't ask for more. We won all the jerseys and the race. Unfortunately, there was a damper on the celebration due to Ashleigh's crash, so now we anxiously await to see how she is doing,” said Sports Director Jolien D’hoore.