Amy Pieters won the final stage of the six-day race
Lizzie Deignan became the first rider to win the OVO Energy Women’s Tour twice after finishing safely in the bunch to ensure she defended her one second lead in the overall classification.
Stage six was won by Boels-Dolmans’ Amy Pieters, the Dutchwoman taking advantage of her team’s unbeatable lead-out to finish ahead of Leah Kirchmann and Roxanne Fournier (Movistar).
Deignan had started the day with only a one second lead over Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) in second, though her attempt at the title was helped when the breakaway took the bonus seconds at the first intermediate sprint.
The second prime attempt from Niewiadoma came late in the day. With the break caught, Niewiadoma forced Deignan to contest the sprint, the British rider taking one second and doubling her lead.
The closing kilometre was extremely technical and though the Polish rider tried until the end, Deignan jumped on the back of the Boels-Dolmans train of eventual stage winner Amy Pieters, finishing eighth on the day, outside of the bonus seconds, but six places ahead of Niewiadoma.
How it happened
At 125.9km, the final day was the shortest open road stage of the week, and the peloton took the bait the moment they passed kilometre zero.
Attacks pinged left, right and centre and after 20km a group of 11 went away. Former world champion Chantal Blaak (Boels-Dolmans), Anna Christian (Drops), Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott), Coryn Rivera (Sunweb), Romy Kasper (Alé-Cipollini), Hannah Barnes (Canyon-SRAM), Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), Leah Thomas (Bigla), Riejanne Markus (CCC-Liv), Eugenie Duval (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope) and Janneke Ensing made good progress, building a gap of 1-35.
However, for the second time this week, the race was stopped, this time to allow an emergency ambulance to attend to a medical emergency on the narrow country roads.
With the race re-started the leaders’ gap was re-established. With the break in place to sweep up the bonus seconds available at the intermediate sprint in Talley, a situation which suited Deignan and her slim overall lead.
The breakaway’s lead actually grew after the stoppage Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo team mate Van Dijk took one of the bonus seconds before returning to the back of the group and sitting on for her leader.
It was not to be a day for the break though, the climb to Black Mountain bringing the break within striking distance of the peloton, and the race re-formed after the descent in Ammanford, bringing the final intermediate sprint at 91km back into play.
Deignan held off Niewiadoma in the remaining sprint, but the final was far from straightforward, with numerous attacks being launched, and a small group even establishing a 30 second lead in the closing kilometres.
In the end though, each of the attacks was brought to heel and the race entered the country park set up for the almost inevitable bunch kick.
OVO Energy Women’s Tour, stage six: Carnarvon to Pembrey Country Park (125.9km)
1. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans in 3-27-02
2. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb
3. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) Movistar
4. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
6. Sheyla Gutierrez (Esp) Movistar
7. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor
8. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo
9. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance
10. Alex Manly (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott, all at same time
Final general classification
1. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo in 21-09-25
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM at two seconds
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 23s
4. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 49s
5. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg at 51s
6. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb at 54s
7. Lizzy Banks (GBr) Bigla at 58s
8. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla at same time
9. Małgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar at 59s
10. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) at 1-01