Kasia Niewiadoma took the second win of her season on stage four of the Women’s Tour on Thursday. The former Polish champion was aggressive in the latter stages of the race, eventually out sprinting Liane Lippert at Burton Dassett Country Park in Warwickshire.
Second place for Lippert saw the German Sunweb rider move into the overall lead ahead of the two final testing stages in Wales.
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Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) finished third and now sits in the same position overall, three seconds down.
Niewiadoma had followed an attack by Deignan’s team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini on the first of three ascents of the testing climb through the country park, taking Lippert with them. The trio eventually bridged to the remains of the day’s breakaway, catching then dropping them on the penultimate climb.
On the descent though they were caught and consumed by a group of about 25 riders, all of whom made it to the bottom of the final ascent.
It was then a drag race to the line, Lippert just falling short, while Deignan finished seven seconds down.
Sixth place for Lizzy Banks (Bigla) was another notable finish for the British riders, and she is now placed ninth overall.
How it happened
With the peloton battered by the crashes of the previous day, the riders were mercifully spared the rain which stopped just before the roll out, though it returned with a vengeance later in the day.
Only 82 of the 96 original starters rolled out of Warwick for the 158.9km stage to Burton Dassett Country Park, the longest day of the race, with more abandoning through the day.
The early kilometres saw faltering attacks, with no one able to get away, but after 30km Mitchelton-Scott’s Sarah Roy attacked and was allowed a lead which soon went out to one minute.
As the race passed Bedworth Lotti Becker (FDJ Futuroscope-Nouvelle Aquitaine) and Femke Markus (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) also attacked.
Roy being allowed up the road was a surprise as she started the day in fifth place overall, just six seconds behind overall leader Lisa Brennauer (WNT-Rotor), but she was given her head, winning the first intermediate sprint and taking further time.
After that sprint Roy was joined by the two chasers as the gap to the peloton went out to 5-20, an advantage not often permitted at Women’s WorldTour level.
Only when the lead exceeded eight minutes was there any serious organisation in the chase, when WNT-Rotor and the Trek-Segafredo came to the front to do the bulk of the work.
The bunch then spent the ensuing kilometres chipping away at the leaders’ advantage, arriving at Sunrise Hill, the first of four classified climbs 38.5km out, with a deficit of only 2.40.
Becker was dropped on the climb and soon taken back by the reduced peloton which had emerged to take on the final circuits.
Each of the four stages so far have brought a new race leader, and that could be repeated on tomorrow’s tough stage through Mid Wales, starting in Llandrindod Wells and finishing some 140km later in Builth Wells.
Women’s Tour 2019, stage four: Warwick to Burton Dassett Country Park (158.9km)
1. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, in 4-18-29
2. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb, at same time
3. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo, at 07 sec
4. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at, 09 sec
5. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg, at 11 sec
6. Lizzy Banks (GBr) Bigla
7. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla
8. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor, all at same time
9. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at 13 sec
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) (Valcar Cylance), at 16 sec
General classification after stage four
1. Liane Lippert (Ger) Sunweb, in 13-47-56
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at same time
3. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo, at 03 sec
4. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor at, 07 sec
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at, 09 sec
6. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg, at 24 sec
7. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at 26 sec
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar-Cylance, at 28 sec
9. Lizzy Banks (GBr) Bigla, at 31 sec
10. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla, at same time