Lizzie Deignan returned to winning ways at the Tour de Suisse on Sunday, finishing in the bunch to take the general classification by one second.
Having admitted she messed up the sprint on Saturday’s stage one, Deignan was back to her predatory best in Frauenfeld, constantly well-positioned and alert, directing her Trek-Segafredo team to neutralise any threats.
The American squad were consummate, riders taking turns to mark attacks so that Deignan could harvest maximum time bonuses from two early intermediate sprints. Then, with the virtual overall lead in their hands with 32km to go, they sat back and left the work to the Canyon-SRAM squad of overnight leader Elise Chabbey, who finished second overall.
The stage was won by Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC Ljubljana), the former world champion executing a perfect sprint from a nine woman breakaway which had formed around 25km out.
With the peloton closing in, Tereza Neumanova (Burgos Women) opened her sprint early, but Bastianelli slipped easily onto her wheel, passing her to win her first race of the year with a roar.
Former British road and time trial champion Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) was third on the day.
How it happened
For the race’s second and final stage the Tour Suisse Women remained in Frauenfeld, though this time the peloton took on a flat 97km route consisting of 10 laps around the north-eastern Swiss town.
With the general classification so tight at the start of the race, bonus seconds would prove key, and make for an exciting race. It was Deignan who struck the first blow, winning the first of three intermediate sprints and the attendant three seconds.
This took her to within one second of overnight race leader, Swiss champion Elise Chabbey (Canyon-SRAM) who suffered a minor crash on the approach to the prime, and the event was set for a grandstand finish.
Though the race was still together going into the final 50km, Chabbey’s team repeatedly tried to form a breakaway in order to deny Deignan the opportunity to close in further on the race lead. It was here that Trek-Segafredo’s team came to the fore, closing down anything that moved.
The second sprint came with 38.6km to go, and while that was won by Chabbey’s American team-mate Alexis Ryan, Deignan took two seconds, and the virtual overall lead after a strong lead-out from her team.
With the balance now shifted it became the responsibility of Canyon-SRAM to mark any attempted breakaways which might take the remaining maximum 13 bonus seconds.
And they came, one after the other, Trek-Segafredo only chasing when Canyon-SRAM sent New Zealander Mikayla Harvey, who started the day 50 seconds down, up the road.
With less than 30km remaining two women finally got away, Katia Ragusa (AR Monex) making contact with Eugénie Duval (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) the pair only gaining a tenuous lead of 12 seconds.
Both women began the day more than six minutes off the overall lead so were no threat, but with other lower placed teams looking for their own interests, they were brought back, only for another group to go.
Duval went again and this time was joined by former world champion Marta Bastianelli (Alé-BTC Ljubljana), Lara Vieceli (Ceratizit-WNT), Alice Maria Arzuffi (Valcar Travel and Service), Tereza Neumanova (Burgos), Nina Buysman (Parkhotel Valkenburg), Linda Indergand (Switzerland) and Chabbey’s Canyon-SRAM team-mate Hannah Barnes.
With her team chasing behind, Barnes soft-pedalled and the group were unable to gain any great traction, though they led by 12 seconds over the day’s final intermediate sprint, putting the GC result on the day’s finish line.
Halfway around the final lap, Canyon-SRAM sent Harvey away again and when she was caught even Chabbey tried her luck a couple of times, but such was Trek-Segafredo’s strength that neither were able to get more than a few metres lead.
With just three kilometres to go, Ragusa bridged to the front group, but they were able to resist the clutches of the peloton and contested the stage, Bastianelli taking the win.
Tour de Suisse Women, stage two - Frauenfeld - Frauenfeld (97km)
1. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana in 2-13-31
2. Tereza Neumanova (Cze) Burgos Women
3. Hannah Barnes (Gbr) Canyon-SRAM
4. Linda Indergrand (Sui) Switzerland
5. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Lara Vieceli (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
7. Nina Buysman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg
8. Katia Ragusa (Ita) AR Monex
9. Alice Maria Arzuffi (Ita) Valcar Travel and Service all at same time
10. Clara Copponi (Ita) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope at six sec.
Final general classification
1. Lizzie Deignan (Gbr) Trek-Segafredo in 5-14-48
2. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Canyon-SRAM, at one second
3. Marlen Reusser (Sui) Alé-BTC Ljubljana, at 34s
4. Jolanda Neff (Sui) Switzerland, at 44s
5. Mikayla Harvey (NZ) Canyon-SRAM, at 51s
6. Lucinda Brand (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 4-31
7. Letizia Borghesi (Ita) Aromitalia-Basso Bikes-Vaiano, at 4-36
8. Tatiana Guderzo (Ita) Alé-BTC Ljubljana
9. Erica Magnaldi (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
10. Sina Frei (Sui) Switzerland, all at same time
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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