By Owen Rogers
By the smallest possible margin Anna van der Breggen continued her remarkable run of victories, winning the Amgen Breakaway From Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM - the Tour of California - on Sunday.
The Olympic champion’s victory came after she managed to take intermediate sprint bonus seconds on the final two days of the four stage race.
Her final stage performance allowed the Boels-Dolmans rider to snatch the leader’s yellow jersey from American rider Katie Hall (UnitedHealthcare), who took the race lead after winning the second stage to South Lake Tahoe on Friday.
Van der Breggen’s team-mate Megan Guarnier looked set to repeat her general classification success of last year after winning Thursday’s opening stage.
That victory was the culmination of strong team work, and was taken in a near identical manner to last season on the same course, and allowed the California resident to take an eight second lead into the queen stage on Friday.
However, it appears that the Dutch team’s commitment to Guarnier taking the win was almost there undoing.
Van der Breggen, who did so much to set up team mate Lizzie Deignan’s win at the recent Tour de Yorkshire, was again on team duties and did much of the work as the race approached stage two’s key climb, the 2,235 metre Daggett Summit.
However, when Hall escaped, American champion Guarnier, whose spring racing was blighted by a severe concussion injury, was unable to follow, and it was left to the Dutch woman to mark her competitor.
In the final van der Breggen attacked, but did not have the legs to establish a conclusive lead, and when Hall countered, she was unable to follow, the American winning the stage by 21 seconds, taking a three second lead into the final two days.
Those races were on mostly flat terrain, with sprinters Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) and Giorgia Bronzini racing for the three woman Wiggle-High5 taking the stage wins on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
Despite Hall and her American outfit appearing on the verge of upsetting the European teams’ apple cart by winning the overall, it was Boels-Dolmans’ canny race management which saw them reclaim the jersey at the last gasp.
Of the Brits, Abby-Mae Parkinson (Drops) took 10th place on stage three, and Hannah Barnes’ fourth place in the final stage proved the Canyon-SRAM rider is returning to sprinting form. Finishing in 16th place Dani King (Cylance) was the best British rider on general classification.
After the Philadelphia Classic was cancelled earlier this year, the Women’s WorldTour takes a three week rest until the Ovo Energy Women’s Tour begins in Towcester, Northamptonshire on June 7.
Amgen Breakaway From Heart Disease Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM - Result
1. Anna van der Breggen (Ned) Boels-Dolmans 10-47-33
2. Katie Hall (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 00-01
3. Arlenis Sierra (Cub) Astana at 00-31
4. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok (USA) Cylance at 00-34
5. Ruth Winder (USA) UnitedHealthcare at 00-38
6. Coryn Winder (Sunweb) at 00-44
7. Lauren Stephens (USA) TIBCO-SVB at 00-54
8. Alena Amialiusik (Blr) Canyon-SRAM at 01-39
9. Martina Ritter (Aut) Drops at 01-42
10. Leah Thomas (USA) at 01-58
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