Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild (Hitec-Products) won a bunch sprint to take victory at the Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire this morning. In what was an exciting final, a bunch kick had been in doubt until a three woman break, including local favourite world champion Lizzie Armitstead, was caught with just two kilometres to go.
Britain’s Lucy Garner (Wiggle-High5) finished a close second to Wild, with another Dutch rider, Floortje Mackaij (Liv-Plantur) taking third place. Despite Wild’s preparations for the track events at the Rio Olympics this summer, it was her fourth road win of the season.
Swiss time trial champion Doris Schweizer (Cylance), who had escaped the peloton alone early on, had earlier built a gap of three minutes, but with 75km behind her the sprinters’ teams began to lead the chase.
With her lead just 25 seconds at the top of the final climb at Conisbrough Castle, she was caught by Armitstead and Leah Kirchmann (Liv-Plantur), who joined forces to build a lead that topped out at over a minute with just 15 km to ride.
Watch: Highlights of Tour de Yorkshire stage one
It was here, however, the route turned into a headwind and onto wider roads, giving the peloton an advantage and, led by Wild’s Norwegian Hitec team along with Alé Cipollini, that their trio’s advantage began disappear.
The race is significant not only for the huge £15,000 prize Wild was awarded, but also because the event took place over the same 136.5 km course as stage two of the men’s Tour de Yorkshire. Events such as the Tour of Flanders run their women’s races on reduced or different courses, though with the same finish, the Tour de Yorkshire’s approach was different.
In addition, the maximum distance permitted for a women’s one day race is 140 km, and though the Tour de Yorkshire was only classified by the UCI 1.2 event, the race was longer than three of the six one day Women’s WorldTour races so far this year.
The race was supposed to have been covered live on both Eurosport and ITV4, however a technical issue with the aeroplane used to relay pictures meant viewers were unable to see live pictures.
British riders excelled in the race with five finishing in the top ten. Garner’s second place was her best finish of 2016, while teenager Evie Richards proved her all round class with her tenth place to add to the U23 cyclo-cross rainbow jersey she won in February.
Asda Women’s Tour de Yorkshire - Otley - Doncaster (136.5km)
1. Kirsten Wild (Ned), Hitec Products, in 3-22-26
2. Lucy Garner (GBr), Wiggle-High5
3. Floortje Mackaij (Ned), Liv-Plantur
4. Alice Barnes (GBr, Drops
5. Marta Bastianelli (Ita), Alé Cipollini
6. Anna Trevisi (Ita), Alé Cipollini
7. Jennifer George (GBr), Drops
8. Nicola Juniper (GBr, Ford Ecoboost
9. Nicole Moerig (Aus), Podium Ambition
10. Evie Richards (GBr), Team GB, all same time
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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.