Lorena Wiebes unleashed a perfectly-timed sprint to take stage one of the Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race.
The opening stage, which followed the exact route of stage two of the men’s race, gave riders the opportunity to view the Yorkshire World Championship finishing circuit before the finish.
But it was a sprint in the market town of Bedale that decided the winner, with Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) following the wheel of Christine Majerus (Boels-Dolmans), who opened up too early.
Dutch rider Wiebes powered past Majerus to take victory, with Majerus finishing second, and third going to Alison Jackson (Tibco-SVB).
How it happened
The 2019 edition of the Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race followed an identical route to the men’s race for the first time.
Stage one was a 132km run from Barnsley in South Yorkshire to Bedale in the north, likely to end in a sprint with only two short climbs mid-way through.
The first notable ascent of the race came 70km into the day – the Côte de Lindley, 1.1km long at 7.5 per cent, but with a long way to the line the climb was unlikely to affect the outcome.
A second climb followed 10km later, 1km at 5.8 per cent, but was still not expected to split the race up.
The peloton then rode on to Harrogate, where riders had the chance to tackle the exact same circuit being used in the World Championship road race in Yorkshire later this year.
After riding north towards Ripon, the race took the long-flat approach to the finish town Bedale where a sprint was expected.
The first move of the day came late, as Bigla’s Elizabeth Banks put in a huge solo effort to break free of the peloton inside 100km.
Banks pulled out a 35 second advantage alone, before Leah Dixon (Brother UK-Tifosi) bridged across to join her, both riders then working well together to pull out a two-minute advantage over the bunch.
A chasing group then went clear from the peloton in an attempt to bridge across to the escapees, consisting of Lauren Kitchen (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope), Maria Confalonieri (Valcar Cylance Cycling), Ingrid Lorvik (Hitec Products) and Kelly Murphy (Storey Racing).
Banks proved herself the strongest out front as she dropped Dixon on the Côte de Lindley to take the Queen of the Mountain points, but then waited for her breakaway companion.
The chasing group then caught Banks and Dixon to make a six-rider breakaway inside 60km, as the race approached the World Championship circuit in Harrogate.
As the race came within 30km of the finish, the escapees held a two minute advantage over the bunch but a flurry of attacks upped the pace behind.
Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) put in a major pull on the front, before her team-mate Taylor Wiles launched an attack.
Trek continued to assert their authority with attacks from Audrey Cordon-Ragot and Ruth Winder following.
No moves from the peloton stuck over the next 5km, but the activity slashed the gap to the breakaway down to 50 seconds, which held as the breakaway entered the final 20km.
At the 10km mark the bunch pulled the front six in view and the chase immediately slowed, with the peloton trying to avoid making the catch too early and encouraging solo moves.
But the break continued to press hard and held a 30-second advantage at 7km, with a sudden panic resulting in a surge of pace behind.
At 5km the gap rapidly began to fall and the day’s escapees were finally caught 3km from the line to set up a rapid run Bedale.
Trek-Segafredo drove the pace on the front of the peloton with Canyon-SRAM then taking up control and leading into the final kilometre.
Boels-Dolmans then hit the wind inside the hoardings as their sprinter Christine Majerus opened her sprint first, but she was passed by Lorena Wiebes at the 150 metre mark.
Wiebes powered clear to take victory, with Majerus finishing second and Jackson taking third.
Tour de Yorkshire Women’s Race 2019 stage one: Barnsley to Bedale (132km)
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg, in 3-35-24
2. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
3. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-SVB
4. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Movistar
5. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor
6. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Sunweb
7. Elisa Balsamo (Ita) Valcar Cyclance
8. Anna Henderson Brother UK-Tifosi
9. Emilia Fahlin (Swe) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitane Futuroscope
10. Demi Vollering (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg, all at same time
General classification after stage one
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg, in 3-35,14
2. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans, at 3 seconds
3. Alison Jackson (Can) Tibco-SVB, at 6s
4. Susanne Andersen (Nor) Sunweb, at 7s
5. Lauren Kitchen (Aus) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, at same time
6. Marianne Vos (Ned) CCC-Liv, at 8s
7. Maria Confalonieri (Ita) Valcar Cyclance, at same time
8. Ingrid Lorvik (Nor) Hitec Products, at 9s
9. Roxane Fournier (Fra) Movistar, at 10s
10. Lisa Brennauer (Ger) WNT-Rotor, at same time