Former world champion Amalie Dideriksen took Boels-Dolmans’ first win at the OVO Energy Women’s Tour on Saturday, sprinting to victory on stage four in Worcester.
The 22 year-old crossed the line in front of Finnish champion Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla), and Marianne Vos (Waowdeals) bagging her third consecutive top three in the five stage race.
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With a full peloton together after a tricky stage, the run through the outskirts of Worcester had been hectic, producing a couple of crashes, one of which took out top placed British rider and Vos’s team mate Dani Rowe.
Finishing in 14th place, overall race leader Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb) did not take part on the sprint, opting instead to play safe and protect her general classification lead.
She will start Sunday’s final stage with a 14-second lead over Vos, with Dani Rowe a further four seconds down in third, though her participation is uncertain after she sustained a knee injury in the crash.
How it happened
Within the first kilometre of the 131.5km stage, as the peloton left Evesham, a huge crash took out a number of riders, resulting in five abandons, with another pulled from the race apparently suffering from concussion.
With much of the race’s medical cover committed, with 119km to go the race was neutralised, the peloton rolling along just after former German champion Charlotte Becker (Hitec Products) had gone clear.
When the race re-started some 13km later, Becker’s advantage 30 seconds was enforced and soon went out to three minutes as the bunch approached the first intermediate sprint.
That lead was significantly reduced on the subsequent climb up the Cotswold escarpment to Snowshill, and as the peloton crested the top of the climb, two more riders attacked the bunch and bridged across.
By the time 50km had been covered those two had joined the leader and the trio of Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (Cervélo-Bigla), Audrey Cordon Ragot (Wiggle-High5) and Becker began working well, taking their advantage out to three minutes.
Behind, however, as the bunch entered section of cross winds near Bidford-on-Avon, teams put the race in the gutter and the peloton split, the gap also coming down. However those crosswinds did not last long enough to make any serious difference, and when it was clear the front peloton was unable to conclusively drop the rest of the bunch they sat up, allowing the group to reform, the gap increasing to 2-30.
This is where the advantage remained for some time, only coming down when Rivera’s Sunweb team came to the front as they approached the final intermediate sprint with 39km to go.
Despite some podium places, the win was Dideriksen’s first of the year, and also Boels-Dolmans’ first since Amy Pieters’ stage success in Emakumeen Bira last month, a near unprecedented drought for the dominant team of recent years.
Sunday sees the final stage in North Wales. Lumpy all day long it has two significant, classified climbs and could well see the general classification change.
Rivera, however is far more than just a sprinter is capable of staying in to earn her first WorldTour stage race victory.
OVO Energy Women’s Tour Stage four, Evesham to Worcester (131.5) -Result
1. Amalie Dideriksen (Den) Boels-Dolmans in 3-31-19
2. Lotta Lepsstö (Fin) Cervélo-Bigla
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals
4. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Alé-Cipollini
5. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Virtu
6. Chiara Consonni (Ita) Valcar
7. Emma Cecilie Jorgensen (Den) Cervélo-Bigla
8. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Mitchelton Scott
9. Neah Evans (GBr) Storey Racing
10.Roxanne Fournier (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, all at same time
General classification after stage four
1. Coryn Rivera (USA) Team Sunweb in 14-48-44
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals, at 14 secs
3. Danielle Rowe (GBr) Waowdeals, at 22 secs
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, at 25 secs
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at same time
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5, at 29 secs
7. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana, at 30 secs
8. Eva Buurman (Ned) Trek Drops, at 31 secs
9. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar PBM, at same time
10. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Canyon SRAM, at same time