Young gun Bradbury leads bike rankings after UAE Tour

Neve Bradbury's excellent start to the road cycling season has taken her to the top of the WorldTour rankings.

The Australian 21-year-old finished runner-up to Belgium's reigning world champion Lotte Kopecky at the UAE Tour women.

Bradbury also won the young rider category and now leads the WorldTour, after finishing third overall last month at Adelaide's Tour Down Under.

Finishing second at the UAE Tour is the biggest result of Bradbury's rapidly emerging career, which started in 2020 when she won the online Zwift academy.

That earned the Melbourne rider a contract with the Canyon/SRAM team.

Bradbury showed her climbing prowess on the Queen stage of the UAE Tour, when she attacked with three kilometres to go on Saturday's summit finish.

Kopecky was the only rider who could stay with her, sprinting past at the finish to claim the stage and set up their overall one-two.

Bradbury now aims to make her debut at the showpiece Tour de France Femmes, to be held immediately after the Paris Olympics from August 12-18.

"I knew that I had good legs coming to the tour, but to finish it off and get on the GC podium is an achievement," Bradbury said.

"After winning Zwift Academy in 2020, I leapt into the pro peloton, and it's been quite a journey over the last four years.

"I'm sitting here now in the UCI WorldTour leader's jersey, and I couldn't be more stoked.

"It will be nice if I get to wear it in further races this year. Now I think I’m ready to take on the world’s best riders and the Tour de France Femmes is my dream"

In her first race for the Australian-based Liv AlUla Jayco team, Spanish rider Mavi Garcia survived a crash on Sunday's last stage to finish third overall.

Kopecky beat Bradbury by 13 seconds on the general classification, with Garcia next at 44 seconds.

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