Lauren Stephens capped off what has been a remarkable virtual Tour de France for Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank with victory on the final Champs-Élysées stage.
The team had already wrapped up the overall and polka dot jersey classifications but weren’t content to settle for anything but the complete set, overhauling Canyon-SRAM over the six intermediate sprints to also claim the green jersey.
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Stephens, wearing the yellow jersey on the final stage, crossed the line seven-hundredths of a second ahead of Brit April Tacey, the Drops rider coming agonisingly close to taking a third stage victory.
Two Twenty20 riders in Georgia Simmerling and Chloe Dygert then came in third and fourth, while Alison Jackson (Sunweb) rounded out the top five.
How it happened
The route profile gave the indication of a hillier course than it actually was, but the final offering of the virtual Tour de France was a true-to-form romp around the Champs-Élysées in Paris.
Dani Christmas (Lotto-Soudal) was once again at the front of proceedings after 10km of racing, while Nina Kessler (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) came through and won the sprint of the second lap, the American team battling it out with Canyon-SRAM for the green jersey today.
A group containing previous stage winner Tanja Erath, Leah Kirchmann (Sunweb) and Trixi Worrack (Trek-Segafredo) found themselves 25 seconds off the back of the front group, which had been whittled down to around 20 riders with 27km raced.
Another stage winner, April Tacey, was pushing out 330w, having made the front group, which was now stringing out as Emily Newsom (Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank) led Alice Barnes (Canyon-SRAM) over the line for the third intermediate sprint.
Christmas then took the next intermediate sprint, but Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank used up all of their riders to take the next four spots, clearly not content with having already sewn up the yellow jersey but wanting to take home the points classification too.
Marianne Vos (CCC-Liv) suffered a mechanical and was forced to step off her bike, as Dani Christmas was not only the first through the line at the next sprint, but also took out an eight-second gap, before falling back to the front group, which was stringing out coming up to the final 10km.
Into the last lap and the group was all still together, Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank with numbers, as Chloe Dygert looked assured and focused.
Christmas went on the offensive once again, taking out a four-second advantage to sweep up some more points at the final intermediate sprint.
Hitting 60km/h down the back straight of the Champs-Élysées, 4km remained until the finish line with 24 riders set to contest the stage victory.
Riders battled for position under the flamme rouge, tentatively negotiating the final few bends before Dygert opened up her sprint as power-up signs flew out the top of riders’ avatars. The yellow jersey of Lauren Stephens soon came through though, and help her power to cross the line first ahead of a charging April Tacey.
Virtual Tour de France, stage six: Champs-Élysées (42.8km)
1. Lauren Stephens (USA) Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank, in 56-38
2. April Tacey (GBr) Drops, at same time
3. Georgia Simmerling (Can) Twenty20
4. Chloe Dygert (USA) Twenty20
5. Alison Jackson (Can) Sunweb
6. Alice Barnes (GBr) Canyon-SRAM
7. Ellen van Dijk (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
8. Leah Dixon (GBr) Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank
9. E Muzic (Fra) FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope
10. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, all at same time
Final general classification
1. Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (USA) – 499 points
2. Twenty20 (USA) – 306 pts
3. Drops (GBr) – 292 pts
4. Canyon-SRAM (Ger) – 272 pts
5. CCC-Liv (Pol) – 216 pts
6. Sunweb (Ger) – 187 pts
7. Ceratizit -WNT (Ger) – 129 pts
8. FDJ Nouvelle – Aquitaine Futuroscope (Fra) – 129 pts
9. Rally Cycling (USA) – 109 pts
10. Boels Dolmans (Ned) – 97 pts
Final points classification
1. Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (USA) – 350 pts
2. Canyon-SRAM (Ger) – 254 pts
3. Drops (GBr) – 175 pts
Final QOM classification
1. Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank (USA) – 69 pts
2. Drops (GBr) – 51 pts
3. CCC-Liv (Pol) – 23 pts