Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) capped off an excellent spring by winning the general classification of the Tour of Chongming Island 2019.
The win was the 20-year-old rider’s first elite GC victory and she did it in style, taking all three stage wins.
Her successes also mark her first Women’s WorldTour victories, the top level of women’s racing, off the back of her win in the opening stage of the recent Tour de Yorkshire.
It’s been a remarkable spring for the Dutch rider who is fast developing into one of the pre-eminent sprinters in the women’s peloton.
After joining the Parkhotel Valkenburg team, last year was her first at UCI elite level and she managed wins in a number of lower ranked events, but this season she has come of age. In the cobbled classics she twice finished second in WorldTour events, as well as winning against a strong field at Danilith Nokere Koerse.
The race also saw the return to the podium of British rider Lucy Garner, now riding for Norwegian team Hitec Products-Birk Sport, the double junior world champion bagging three top ten finishes in China with third place on stage two her best result.
How it happened
The tenth event of the WorldTour was also the first of a series of stage races, which includes the OVO Energy Women’s Tour, the Giro Rosa and only finishes with the La Course during the Tour de France in late July.
Comprising three stages mostly located on Chongming Island just north of Shanghai, the race is almost completely flat, the bridge over the Yangtze River being its highest point at 60m.
The opening stage was a cagey affair, with Mitchelton-Scott doing a lot of work controlling breakaways. Wiebes, however, set out her stall by managing to bag bonus seconds in one of the intermediate sprints.
In the final she rode the wheels before using her powerful sprint to come over the top for the win.
During Friday’s second stage Wiebes’s team were forced to control the breakaways, though they only allowed those to go after she had once again bagged the maximum time bonuses on offer.
Mitchelton-Scott tried for a second time to set up Sarah Roy in the final but once again Wiebes was too strong.
The Dutchwoman began stage three with a lead of 17 seconds and, as a result, the third and closing stage was allowed to be more attacking, though Wiebes still ensured she bagged time in the intermediate sprints.
A small break escaped in the later stages, but once again Parkhotel Valkenburg brought them to heel to set up Wiebes for the final.
The Women’s WorldTour continues next week with three stages at the Amgen Tour of California, before returning to Europe for the four day Emakumeen Bira in Spain’s Basque Country.
Tour of Chongming Island - overall classification
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg, in 8-26-14
2. Jutatip Maneephan (Tha) Thailand Women’s Cycling Team, at 22 seconds
3. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto-Soudal Ladies, at 27s
4. Nina Kessler (Ned) Team TIBCO-SVB, at 35s
5. Lucy Garner (GBr) Hitec Products, at 37s
6. Marta Tagliaferro (Ita) Hitec Products, at same time
7. Tatsiana Sharakova (Blr) Minsk Cycling Club, at 38s
8. Maaike Boogaard (Ned) BTC City Ljubljana, at same time
9. Valeriya Kononenko (Ukr) Lviv Cycling Team, at 39s
10. Pascale Jeuland-Tranchant (Fra) Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport, at 41s
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Owen Rogers is an experienced journalist, covering professional cycling and specialising in women's road racing. He has followed races such as the Women's Tour and Giro d'Italia Donne, live-tweeting from Women's WorldTour events as well as providing race reports, interviews, analysis and news stories. He has also worked for race teams, to provide post race reports and communications.
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