Words by Owen Rogers
Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv) tightened her grip on the Women’s Tour yellow jersey on Saturday, beating Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle-Honda) to win the bunch sprint in Welwyn Garden City. It was the World Champion’s second consecutive win, extending her lead in the General Classification to 19 seconds over Emma Johansson (Orica-AIS). That lead was aided when she collected bonus seconds in the last intermediate sprint.
Despite the slightly more challenging terrain it was another comfortable day for the Dutch woman, even when a break away managed to go clear. “We wanted to get in a good breakaway and were there with Annanmiek van Vleuten,” she told the post race press conference. “In the bunch together with Wiggle, we controlled that well.”
“After it was neutralised with 20 kilometres to go [following a road accident on the course] it was chaos, a bit hectic, but actually it went quite well. All the big teams came to the front for the final uphill [Queen of the Mountains] and the sprint, so the positioning started for the final.”
“Of course we have the maps and we study them, but still we don’t know really the roads it’s a guess but today it looked like the map,” she said of the technical final.
After her late start to the season, the Dutch rider is in ominous form and has not been out of the the top three this week.
“I’m really happy with my shape at the moment and I’m getting better day by day, in a stage race that’s obviously nice to feel. I’m getting there and I think my sprinting form is here,” she concluded. With tomorrow’s slightly longer stage between Harwich and Bury St Edmunds on similar terrain, don’t be surprised if Vos completes a hat trick of wins.
Andy Jones presents a selection of images from the fourth stage of the inaugural Friends Life Women's Tour
Race leader Marianne Vos increases her advantage at the top of the overall classification with a second stage win