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Clara Copponi Wins the Women’s Tour Stage 1

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How the Race Finished 

It all seemed lined up for another sprint victory in the U.K. for Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM), winner of all three stages at last week’s RideLondon, but a crash in a narrow final corner took out her and her leadout train, leaving Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) to take the victory instead. Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) took second, and Elena Cecchini (SD Worx) took third. 

The Main Action 

It was a fairly dull, drizzly day as the peloton rolled out of Colchester, heading to Bury St Edmunds, for the first day of the six-day Women’s Tour. Like RideLondon, the early stages of the race had notably few breakways, or even attempts to establish them; with the flat profile pointing to a sprint finish, the teams seemed content to play a waiting game. 

Both intermediate sprints were hard-fought, and both were won by Maike Van Der Duin (Le Col – Wahoo). At the first sprint, Maria Confalonieri (Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling) came second, Alison Jackson (Liv Racing) came second; at the second, Alison Jackson was second, with Laura Tomasi (UAE Team ADQ) third. 

At the first Queen of the Mountains, Tiffany Cromwell lead out Elise Chabbey (both Canyon//SRAM); but Christine Majerus slips over them to take the maximum QoM points, with Megan Jastrab (Team DSM) in third. At the second Queen of the Mountains, Niewiadoma was now leading out leading out Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM), but Majerus got the maximum points again, with Gladys Verhulst (Le Col – Wahoo) in second, and Chabbey in third. 

The first major attack went from Danielle Shrosbree (CAMS-Basso, a British continental team), winner of the points and mountains jersey in last year’s Volta a Portugal. She launched a solo attack, and, not followed by anyone else, managed to build a lead of over a minute. With 45km to go, she had a minute and forty-five seconds. Behind her, however, DSM and BikeExchange were on the front of the peloton, controlling the gap. 

Unfortunately, with 35km to go, the race was stopped to let emergency vehicles through. Shrosbree got a pep talk from her car. In the long break, riders got into their team cars for warmth.  It was a lengthy disruption: fifty minutes later, there was a 1.5km neutral roll-out. Shrosbree was allowed to re-establish her gap, which was a minute at the time the race paused. For a while, Shrosbree maintained a lead of 45-50 seconds, as cohesion slipped away in the group behind, but eventually, DSM and Trek-Segafredo came to the front, and it was doomed for Shrosbree, once Ellen van Dijk began chasing her down. 

Shrosbree was caught with 15km to go, and from then on, it was about the lead-out trains organizing themselves. Liv Racing committed early on, with Thalita de Jong prominent in her first race day for the team. In the tight, technical finish, it was all about teams battling for room. Pfeiffer Georgi and Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) seemed to be guiding Wiebes into a perfect position through an ultra-narrow section, until a sharp corner brought half the major contenders tumbling down, including Wiebes, Barbara Guarischi (Movistar) and Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo). It was left to those who stayed upright to battle for the win, and it was Clara Copponi, of FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope, who came out on top, and took her first professional win.

Results 

Clara Copponi now leads the GC classification. After fierce battles for both sets of mountain points, Christine Majerus (SD Worx) leads the mountains classification, with Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM) in second, and Gladys Verhulst (Le Col – Wahoo) in third. 

 

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