Jolien D’Hoore takes second Women’s Tour win after crash marred stage three

Former world time trial champion Lisa Brennauer finishes second to move into overall lead after Marianne Vos crashes out

Jolien D’Hoore once again stamped her name on the Women’s Tour with a second stage victory at Blenheim Palace on Wednesday.

Again her win came off the back another imperious lead out from her Boels-Dolmans team-mates, leading her into the final corner, through the narrow gates to the palace in third place.

She was then able to open her sprint, crossing the line ahead of Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor) and Demi Vollering (Parkhotel-Valkenburg).

Bonus seconds earned from that second place mean Brennauer now leads the race overall by three seconds ahead of last year’s winner Coryn Rivera (Sunweb).

The day was marred by a huge crash early in the race which took out the general classification leader Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv). One of about 30 riders who went down, Vos was taken to hospital, obviously abandoning the race.

The incident caused the race to be halted for some 30 minutes while race medical staff dealt with the casualties, and was only re-started when medical cover had been restored to the peloton.

Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) also went down in the crash, and again in a second incident later on, and now sits third overall, just four seconds back.

Though she reported no injuries at the finish, in total nine riders abandoned the race as a result of the crashes.

How it happened

With the main climbs coming in the opening 22km, the peloton could have taken it easy, instead the race exploded on the opening ascent to Pishill.

Defending the mountains classification, Boels-Dolmans rider Christine Majerus led the way only for Anna Plichta (Trek-Segafredo) to attack solo. The Polish rider had been a breakaway specialist in the recent Emakumeen Bira, which the team won, and the peloton seemed to be in two minds as to whether to let her go.

She led by over a minute over Britwell Hill, but that was closed down to 12 seconds shortly afterwards, before regaining the advantage in the ensuing kilometres. 

By the time she reached Goring, after 44km her advantage was back out to 1.10, as the bunch finally settled.

After the crash, when the race re-started Plichta was allowed to resume her lead at 48 seconds, though it soon went out to 1-50 before the bunch reacted.

Only when they were within the closing 50km did the peloton begin a concerted chase, catching the Polish rider within 10km.

With the break caught the peloton remained busy and the pace high. Indeed the race recommenced after the neutralisation some 25 minutes behind the slowest estimated schedule, but by the time it finished it was back on course, the pace high to prevent the numerous attacks in the closing third of the day. 

Only approaching the line at Blenheim Palace did the peloton settle as a bunch kick became inevitable.

At 158.9km, Thursday’s fourth stage is the longest of the week. Starting in Warwick, it heads to Burton Dassett Country Park, near Royal Leamington Spa, and features the event’s first ever hilltop finish, the line being at the top of the third ascent.

Result

Women’s Tour, stage three: Henley-on-Thames to Benheim Palace (145.1km)

1. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Boels-Dolmans, in 3-46-04
2. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor
3. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg
4. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar
5. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
6. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo
7. Eugénie Duval (Fra) FDJ Futuroscope Nouvelle Aquitaine
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar Cylance
9. Kasia Niewidoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM
10. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) Virtu, all at same time

General classification after stage three

1. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor, in 9-29-23
2. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb, at 03 sec
3. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo, at 04 sec
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boel-Dolmans, at same time
5. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, at 06 sec
6. Jolien D’hoore (Bel) Boels-Dolmans, at 08 sec
7. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar, at 10 sec
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar Cylance
10. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Sunweb, all at same time