Brit rider Abby-Mae Parkinson takes combatively prize after her lone breakaway was thwarted in the final two kilometres.
Former Belgian champion Jolien D’hoore won the opening stage of the 2019 Women’s Tour, sprinting to victory in Suffolk on Monday.
Her Boels-Dolmans team were dominant, with D’hoore’s final lead out rider, Amy Pieters finishing in second place. WNT Rotor rider Lisa Brennauer was third.
Taking 10 bonus seconds for the victory, D’hoore now leads the over all general classification going into the second stage at the CycloPark near Gravesend in Kent. With that stage likely to be a sprint finish there is is every chance she can retain the overall lead.
British rider Abby-Mae Parkinson (Drops) nearly spoiled the sprinters’ party though, escaping the bunch after they passed through Bury St. Edmunds, with around 24km remaining. The 21-year-old soon built a lead approaching two minutes, but as the race closed in on the finish in Stowmarket for a final, 12km circuit her lead began to drop.
Though it had seemed possible she would stay away for a surprise victory, the bunch gradually reeled her in, timing their effort to perfection and she was caught with just two kilometres to go.
How it happened
With a month’s worth of rain promised by forecasters, the bunch were in cautious mood as they set out from Beccles for the 157.6km stage though Suffolk.
The peloton were happy to roll through the winding, narrow lanes and it was only after 16km, as the rain began to fall in earnest that there were any attacks, though those were soon brought to heel.
Those attacks continued sporadically and unsuccessfully until the race settled into a rhythm, every time someone tried to get away the sprint teams closed them down.
It was only after last year’s overall winner Coryn Rivera (Sunweb) won the first two of three intermediate sprints, bagging the attendant six bonus seconds that the race came to life.
As the bunch sped into the technical streets of Bury St. Edmunds it stretched out, the attacks becomes more frequent and pace lifted, the race quickly passing from the slower predicted time to the fastest.
On the opening roads between Bury St. Edmunds and the finish and just after the first of two late classified climbs, with 24km to go Parkinson made her move, forming the day’s only breakaway.
The win was D’hoore’s second win of the season, after she lost much the sporing to injury after a crash at Drentse Acht van Westerveld. The former madison world champion won the opening stage of Emakumeen Bira in the Basque Country last month, but once again confirmed her status as one of the world’s best spotters with Monday’s success.
Women’s Tour 2019, stage one: Beccles to Stowmarket (157.6km)
1. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Boels-Dolmans, in 4-09-12
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT Rotor
4. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar
5. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv
6. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Ale-Cipollini
7. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar-Cylance
8. Sheyla Gutierrez (Esp) Movistar
9. Julie Leth (Den) Bigla
10. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time
General classification after stage one
1. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Boels-Dolmans, in 4-09-02
2. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 04 sec
3. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT Rotor at 06 sec
4. Sheyla Gutierrez (Esp) Movistar at 07 sec
5. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv at 8 sec
6. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb at same time
7. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar at 10 sec
8. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Ale-Cipollini
9. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar-Cylance
10. Julie Leth (Den) Bigla, all same time