By Owen Rogers
Leah Thomas won the first edition of the Women’s Tour of Scotland, taking the final stage in Edinburgh on Sunday.
The American sprinted from a group of just nine riders, with Bigla team-mate Elise Chabbey finishing second and Stine Borgli (Norway) in third.
Having begun the day in fourth overall, seven seconds behind leader Alison Jackson (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) the stage win earned Thomas ten bonus seconds, enough to overhaul her Canadian rival, taking the lead by five seconds.
The race had shattered on the final circuits around Holyrood Park, with Thomas’s team-mate, Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig attacking on the first of three laps. Though the Dane was caught on the final ascent of the circuit’s climb, her effort split the chasing bunch to only 15, which further split on the run in.
How it happened
The final stage of the race’s first edition set off from Holyrood Park in Edinburgh, heading south into the hills of the border country, to Peebles and, like stage two, there were attacks from the flag.
A group of seven women soon had a small gap, but were brought back before Lotto-Soudal hit the front, though they were unable to prevent further unsuccessful attackers trying their luck.
The aggression continued through the opening kilometres until Lotto-Soudal themselves sent their Brit rider Dani Christmas up the road. She was unable to maintain an advantage, though, as the tone for the day was set.
Finally, with more than 75km ridden and after the day’s main climb of The Mound, Ann-Sophie Duyck (Parkhotel-Valkenburg) escaped on the long descent towards the day’s second intermediate sprint at Bonnyrigg.
With the Belgian starting the day with a general classification deficit of more than seven minutes, she was no threat to Jackson’s overall lead and therefore allowed to build a lead approaching a minute and a half as she won the sprint.
Jackson helped her GC cause by finishing second in that sprint, bagging two bonus seconds, giving her a cushion of six seconds on her nearest rival.
As the race approached Edinburgh for three lumpy 5.3km circuits around Holyrood Park, Duyck’s lead was reduced to just over one minute, and she was caught when Thomas’s Bigla squad hit the front on the lap’s climb, setting up Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig.
The Dane attacked and escaped the bunch which shattered behind her, with Ludwig holding an advantage of 11 seconds over a chasing group of 15 riders. Howevr, her move was destined to set up her team mate for the overall
Women’s Tour of Scotland, stage three: Edinburgh - Edinburgh (117.4km)
1. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla in 3-10-04
2. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Bigla
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway
4. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco Silicon Valley Bank
5. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Lubljana
6. Eri Yonamine (Jap) Alé-Cipollini
7. Julie van der Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal
8. Hannah Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana, all at same time
9. Nikola Nosková (Cze) Bigla at three seconds
10. Nadia Quagliotto (Ita) Alé-Cipollini, at same time
Final general classification
1. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla in 6-34-24
2. Alison Jackson (Can) at five seconds
3. Stine Borgli (Nor) Norway at seven seconds
4. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana at 13s
5. Elise Chabbey (Sui) Bigla at 14s
6. Eri Yonamine (Jap) Alé Cipollini at 20s
7. Hanna Nilsson (Swe) BTC City Ljubljana
8. Julie van der Velde (Bel) Lotto Soudal, both same time
9. Nikola Nosková (Cze) Bigla att 23s
10. Emma White (USA) Rally-UHC at 26s
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