The stage to Leamington Spa saw a number of crashes but culminated in a bunch gallop to the line
After one of the longest day’s racing on the Women’s WorldTour calendar this year it was Chloe Hosking who sprinted to victory in the packed streets of Royal Leamington Spa on stage three of the Women’s Tour 2017.
Riding for Italian team Alé-Cipollini Galassia, Hosking out-sprinted British rider Alice Barnes (Drops) who retakes the best British jersey from her sister Hannah (Cayon-SRAM).
Kasia Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie) finished in the bunch and retained the leader’s green jersey.
Hosking had been part of a large group of around 40 riders who had caught a break of five within the final 10 kilometres, on the run into the Warwickshire town.
Avoiding the hurly-burly of the bunch, Barnes started her sprint early and the Australian was able to pass for her first WorldTour win of 2017.
Despite an aggressive start and occasional periods of activity, the 150km race between Atherstone and Leamington was strangely calm.
On a similar stage last year the short steep climbs of the area had smashed a the peloton apart, however, this year they seemed happy for the day to finish in a bunch kick.
The five rider break formed after the second intermediate sprint, with more than 70km behind them. First Cervélo-Bigla’s Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig escaped up the road, and Shara Gillow (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) was next, and who was soon joined by Martina Ritter (Drops), Gracie Elvin (Orica-Scott) and Małgorzata Jasinska (Cylance) forming a quintet.
This group contested the two classified climbs, but with the gap never exceeding 1-50, they were never likely to stay away.
The stage was marred by some unusual crashes, one of which saw Canyon-SRAM’s Alena Amialiusik sent to hospital, and Hosking herself was a victim of one such incident.
“I got caught behind one quite early,” the 26-year-old said. “I chest dived and managed to hit my lip on the pavement, I feel like a Kardashian but I don’t look like a Kardashian!
“I had some of the WM3 girls come to me and ask if I wanted a bunch sprint today and I said ‘of course,’ so it seemed like a number of the teams did want the finish to be in a big group. Of course there was that group of five that got away and it took a bit of effort to drag them back.
“It’s pretty amazing, I’m a bit emotional really, to win with some of the best sprinters in the world here I am really happy.”
While tomorrow’s stage starting and finishing in Chesterfield will be the shortest of the race so far, it is likely to be the toughest of the week, though whether anyone can overhaul Niewiadoma’s general classification advantage is to be seen.
For Hosking it will be a day of survival. “Tomorrow is a rest day, as much as I can rest on these sort of roads, so obviously I turn my attention to Sunday.”
Ovo Energy Women’s Tour, stage three: Atherstone to Royal Leamington Spa (150.8km)
1. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé Cipollini- Galassia 3-57-10
2. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Drops
3. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Sunweb
4. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Wiggle-High5
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
6. Hannah Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM
7. Katie Archibald (Gbr) WNT
8. Sara Penton (Swe) VeloConcept
9. Emilie Moberg (Nor) Hitec Products
10. Alison Jackson (Can) BePink all at same time
General classification after stage three
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) WM3 Energie 11-38-21
2. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Sunweb at 1-43
3. Alice Barnes (Gbr) Drops at 1-46
4. Hannah Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM
5. Marianne Vos (Ned) WM3 Energie at same time
6. Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervélo-Bigla at 1-55
7. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 1-55
8. Katie Archibald (Gbr) WNT 1-56
9. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Den) Cervélo-Bigla 1-58
10. Danny King (Gbr) Cylance 1-59