Lorena Wiebes returned to the top of the sprinting tree on Tuesday, winning the second stage of the Women’s Tour.
Despite a crash in the bunch putting her and the entire DSM team out of position with only eight kilometres to go, the Dutch rider was a class apart. With her team rejoining her in the peloton she was perfectly placed by her team, winning the final sprint with relative ease.
She eventually crossed the line around four bike lengths ahead of Barbara Guarischi (Movistar) in second place, and Shari Bossuyt (Canyon-SRAM) in third.
With a late two woman breakaway up the road in the closing kilometres, the final became unexpectedly tense. With the leading duo in sight the crash at eight kilometres allowed them a brief hope of taking the win, but with the engine of Trek-Segafredo’s European road champion Ellen van Dijk on the front that was a short-lived dream.
With four kilometres remaining Wiebes regained the peloton, her team mates returning in dribs and drabs. At two kilometres the leaders were caught, but DSM were still out of position, only coming through in the final kilometre.
Despite only managing to cross the line in sixth, French woman Clara Copponi (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) collected bonus seconds at the intermediate sprints and managed to hold on to the overall race lead, three second ahead of Maike van der Duin (Drops-Le Col).
Tomorrow’s third stage is a much more challenging parcours, the peloton heading to Gloucestershire for the first time in the race’s history, and the Forest of Dean for a lumpy 107.1km.
How it happened
With the sunny weather in Essex contrasting hugely with stage one’s dreary offering, the second day of the Women’s Tour saw the peloton tackle and undulating circuit around the town of Harlow
At only 92.1km it was the shortest day of the race, but with the day’s two classified climbs coming in the final 30km the was set to be back loaded with action.
Unlike the first day - which was branded 'dangerous' by riders - the finishing straight had little in the way of technical challenge, long and straight, a slight tail wind and an uphill drag combined to make perfect timing in the sprint essential.
Once again the opening 40km passed with little in the way of action, Mike van der Duin winning the intermediate sprint in Great Dunmow, adding maximum points to her tally after winning both the previous day.
It wasn’t just the lack of a breakaway and Van der Duin mopping up the sprints that saw the stage bear an uncanny resemblance to the first, as once again it was CAMS-Basso who got a rider up the road. After Danni Shrosbree’s solo effort 24 hours earlier, this time it was Sammie Stuart, riding her first international event, who got away alone.
The 31 year-old firefighter quickly established a lead of 1-10, which she maintained for some time, though as she closed in on the final 20km her advantage began to drop fast and she was caught just ahead of Toot Hill, the first of the classified climbs.
Over the top Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo) led Lily Williams (Human Powered Health) off the front, the pair getting a small gap on what was now a rampant bunch. On the second climb Vehulst pushed on, dropping the American, reaching out to take maximum points in the climbing competition.
With eight kilometres to go the two were back together when the crash at the front of the race pitched a number of riders into the road side ditch, briefly giving the leaders hope of victory. However, despite reduced numbers in the peloton they were caught with two kilometres to go.
Result Women’s Tour, stage two: Harlow - Harlow (92.1km)
1. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM in 2-19-05
2. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar
3. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon-SRAM
4. Marjolein Van’t Geloof (Ned) Le Col-Wahoo
5. Coryn Labecki (USA) Jumbo-Visma
6. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope
7. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco
8. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT
9. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SDWorx
10. Chloe Hosking (Aus) Trek-Seagredo, all at same time
General classification after stage two
1. Clara Copponi (Fra) FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope in 5-59-06
2. Maike van der Duin (Ned) Le Col-Wahoo at 03 sec
3. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) DSM at 04 sec
4. Sofia Bertizzolo (Ita) UAE Team ADQ at 07 sec
5. Elena Cecchini (Ita) SDWorx at 08 sec
6. Barbara Guarischi (Ita) Movistar at same time
7. Shari Bossuyt (Bel) Canyon-SRAM at 10 sec
8. Alison Jackson (Can) Liv-Xstra at 11 sec
9. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT at 12 sec
10. Arianna Fidanza (Ita) BikeExchange-Jayco at 14 sec
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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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