Overall victory a first stage race success for Sunweb rider

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After what was an exciting and aggressive stage, Finnish champion Lotta Lepistö (Cervélo-Bigla) won the final stage of the Women’s Tour in Colwyn Bay on Sunday. Finishing the day in eighth place, Team Sunweb’s Coryn Rivera won the general classification; her first stage race win at Women’s WorldTour level.

Riding along the promenade, wind had made the final four kilometres hectic, which mini echelons forming and causing chaos as riders desperately avoided the wind. Entering the final 200m Lepistö followed Marianne Vos (Waowdeals), coming over the top of the Dutchwoman, who finished third, with Giorgia Bronzini (Cylance) taking her second second place of the week.

Saturday’s stage to Worcester was the only day Rivera finished outside the top-10, and her GC success was built around that consistency. She won the second stage into Daventry, but all week used the intermediate sprints to accrue bonus seconds, eventually finishing 11 seconds ahead of Vos.

After suffering a knee injury in a crash on Saturday, Brit Dani Rowe struggled through the final day, but finished 17th, enough to secure her third place overall, her best Women’s WorldTour result to date.

How it happened

The opening 70km of Sunday’s final stage of the five day event was fantastically aggressive. Starting in Dolgellau, at 122.6km it was the shortest of the week, but with a route heading through the Snowdonia National Park, a tough day out was expected.

As she did on stage two, 19-year-old Dutch rider Maaike Boogaard (BTC City Ljubljana) tried her luck off the front while passing through Barmouth. The bunch, though, was in no mood to let her go, and once they were through the tight streets of the seaside town they began closing her lead of 20 seconds.

With 20km covered she was brought to heel and three further riders escaped the bunch, soon building a lead of 45 seconds.

Emilie Moberg (Virtu), Marta Tagliaferro (Cylance) and Susanne Andersen (Hitec Products) were soon joined by Briton Natalie Grinczer (WNT-Rotor), the quartet working to increase their lead on a peloton now riding tempo.

Bwlch-y-Maen was the first climb of the day, and while the entire 1.8km ascent was only 5.2 per cent, the opening ramps of over 20 per cent took their toll. First Andersen was dropped, before a rampant peloton split on the climb. The remaining escapees – all sprinters – were caught by a group of 25 as they crested the top.

Despite this split in the bunch, the peloton reformed on the descent, and a brief easing of hostilities allowed the race to catch its breath before another attacker went clear.

Former world champion Marta Bastianelli (Alé-Cipollini) had only just established her lead when she reached the second climb, and while Nant Gwynant, the race’s longest ascent, is not hugely challenging, it was not her natural environment.

She did, however, manage to hold on until the top, despite the attentions of two chasers and the peloton behind.

Much of the race came back together on the long descent through Snowdonia and despite an aggressive final 50km with multiple riders trying to get away at times, it was not until 20km were left that any group was sufficiently organised the gain any advantage.

Last year’s winner Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon SRAM), Elisa Longo Borghini (Wiggle-High5), Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) and Sunweb duo of Lucinda Brand and Rivera got away.

However, with neither second placed Marianne Vos or her team-mate, third placed Dani Rowe present, they were unable to stay away, and the day was set for a sprint finish.

Result

Women’s Tour 2018, stage five: Dolgellau to Colwyn Bay (122.6km)

1. Lotta Lepsstö (Fin) Cervélo Bigla, in 3-03-55
2. Giorgia Bronzini (Ita) Cylance
3. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals
4. Marta Bastianelli (Ita) Alé-Cipollini
5. Roxanne Fournier (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
6. Kirsten Wild (Ned) Wiggle High5
7. Sarah Roy (Aus) Mitchelton Scott
8. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb
9. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans
10. Lisa Klein (Ger) Canyon-SRAM, all at same time

Final general classification

1. Coryn Rivera (USA) Sunweb, in 17-52-36
2. Marianne Vos (Ned) Waowdeals at 11 seconds
3. Dani Rowe (Gbr) Waowdeals at 25 seconds
4. Christine Majerus (Lux) Boels-Dolmans at 27 seconds
5. Amy Pieters (Ned) Boels-Dolmans at 28 seconds
6. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Wiggle-High5 at 32 seconds
7. Eugenia Bujak (Slo) BTC City Ljubljana at 33 seconds
8. Eva Buurman (Ned) Trek Drops at 34 seconds
9. Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Fra) Canyon-SRAM
10. Sabrina Stultiens (Ned) Waowdeals, all at same time.