Martin's team-mate Rossella Ratto lost the race lead to Marianne Vos yesterday despite the best efforts of Estadio de Mexico-Faren.

Words by Owen Rogers

Thursday’s second stage of the Friends Life Women’s Tour was a big day for the Estado Mexico-Faren Kuota team, as Italian Rossella Ratto took the stage win and the leader’s yellow jersey.

Yesterday it was down to the team to defend their lead against the might of Marianne Vos in windy conditions which didn’t suit them. One of that team is 2012 Olympian, Briton Lucy Martin.

“Everyone in the team was just so happy after Rossella got the jersey,” Martin told Cycling Weekly after yesterday’s stage. “It’s a small team and it was our our first UCI win this year, taking the overall was even better.

“The plan [on Friday] was to see if we could get someone in the break before the first sprint, to take the bonus seconds,” she explained. “It was flat out from the gun, so it was hard for anyone to get away. We hoped Elena [Checchini] could take some seconds, or Rossella could go again in a break, but no one’s going to let the yellow jersey get away with 20k to go. It was a tricky day.”

Though Ratto finished the stage on the same time as the winner, the time bonuses accrued by world and Olympic champion Vos (Rabo-Liv) meant she took the leader’s jersey from the young Italian.

“We knew Rossella would lose the jersey if it came down to a sprint, it wasn’t a huge shock,” explained Martin.

“It’s been nice, but she’s still in third position and still got the young rider’s jersey. The next couple of days are a bit hillier, perfect for Rossella to get away and if she stays with Vos or [Emma] Johansson she can keep the place at least.”

Martin, who was born on Merseyside, is a handful of months into her first year with the Italian-based team, having spent last year riding for Boels-Dolmans with Lizzie Armitstead.