Lizzie Deignan takes Women’s Tour GC lead after stage five victory

Victory is the first for the former world champion since returning to the peloton after maternity leave

Lizzie Deignan bagged an emotional first race win since her return to racing on Friday, winning the queen stage of the Women’s Tour in Mid Wales.

Deignan, Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM) and Trek-Segafredo team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini had attacked what remained of the of the peloton nearing the top of the race’s final climb, Epynt.

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She then led the trio home to the line in Builth Wells, out sprinting Niewiadoma into second place, with Longo Borghini third.

The three riders had crested the climb leading seven chasers by 18 seconds. The pursuing group were not able to get on terms, thwarted by Deignan’s team-mates in the group, though the advantage did wax and wane, and at one moment they were nearly caught.

Their effort to stay away was helped by the terrain, which remained punishingly hilly, with a number of very steep climbs in the 20km run in.

However, as the race reached its conclusion at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells, the swollen chasing group was hot on their heels, some eventually finishing less than 20 seconds down

The victory puts Deignan in pole position going into the final stage on Saturday, though she leads Niewiadoma by only one second, making bonus seconds as important as they have ever been in the race.

How it happened

Billed as the queen stage, the 140km race set off from Llandrindod Wells, first heading north, then looping round for 140km and 2206m of climbing, and it was action the moment the flag dropped.

A few speculative early attacks resulted in a ten rider group going clear before as many kilometres had passed, though the bunch were not too happy, bringing the gap down.

Their lead rose and fell, the break somehow resisting the peloton’s advances, however, just after passing through the town of Knighton, after 30km, they were finally caught.

There was barely a lull before more attacks went, with groups of sizes varying from one to 2o trying their luck. It was only at Beguildy, after the first of two intermediate sprints that a group of five were finally allowed to get away.

Lauren Kitchen (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope), Asja Paladin (Valcar-Cylance), Erica Magnaldi (WNT-Rotor), Aude Biannic (Movistar) and former world champion Amalie Dideriksen (Boels-Dolmans) were soon permitted to build a lead of 2-15 as they led onto the first classified climb of the day.

Averaging seven per cent over its 1.2km, Gorddwr Bank was a tough challenge and Kitchen was dropped, though the others soldiered on, increasing their advantage until, at half way, they led by 3-50 and the Australian was caught.

Paladin was the next to go, the relentless, but unclassified climbing taking its toll as the race headed towards its conclusion.

The peloton upped the pace as they left Rhayader, the wide A44 giving the perfect opportunity to close the gap, and by the time they entered the tough unclassified hills on the approach to the final climb the lead was down to 1-20.

Though the peloton was also reduced by these hills, it was a group of around 20 which finally caught the breakaway around 1500 metres from the top of the Epynt climb. 

Result

Women’s Tour 2019, stage five: Llandrindod Wells to Builth Wells (140km)

1. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo, in 3-54-35
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at same time
3. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 02 sec
4. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb, at 17 sec
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at same time
6. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, at 19 sec
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Lizzy Banks (GBr) Bigla
9. Ane Santesteban (Esp) WNT-Rotor
10. Marta Cavalli (Ita) Valcar-Cylance, all at same time

General classification after stage five

1. Lizzie Deignan (GBr) Trek-Segafredo, in 17-42-24
2. Kasia Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon-SRAM, at 01 sec
3. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans, at 32 sec
4. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel-Valkenburg, at 50 sec
5. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at same time
6. Lizzy Banks (GBr) Bigla, at 57 sec
7. Małgorzata Jasinska (Pol) Movistar, at 58 sec
8. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-00
9. Leah Thomas (USA) Bigla, at same time
10. Leah Kirchmann (Can) Sunweb, at 1-02

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