How the Race Ended
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) showed her sprinting dominance yet again, taking the stage by two bike lengths ahead of Marta Bastianelli (UAE Team ADQ) in second, and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) in third. With Wiebes the favourite for tomorrow, it looks as if she might do what Demi Vollering did in Itzulia – win all three stages and the general classification.
The Main Action
The peloton was relatively quiet for most of the day, taking in a rolling course around Essex without, for most of it, racing too aggressively. The day’s major attack came from Veronica Ewers (EF Education – Tibco – SVB), who went solo only 10km into the race, and stayed out there for another 110km. At one point, she had a lead of over four minutes, but the sprinters’ teams were always in control, and reeled her back in once the hilly final circuits around Epping started.
The British rider, Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma) was fully committed to defending her mountains jersey, acquired yesterday during her solo breakaway, when she was caught metres from the line. She took maximum points at the second Queen of the Mountains, and second at the first and third, securing an unassailable lead ahead of tomorrow’s flat stage.
Lorena Wiebes was also fully invested in defending her GC lead. Although Ewers took the maximum bonus seconds, still out alone at that point, Wiebes won both sprints from the peloton for second, outsprinting Chiara Consonni (Valcar Travel & Service) the first time around, and Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) the second time around.
As the speed of the peloton rose on the narrow, technical final circuit, riders began to disappear out the back, but they couldn’t shake the sprint favourites. When the sprint finally came, Wiebes won it comfortably; she was a full two bike lengths ahead of the rest of the peloton. Despite a field stacked with sprints, no-one has really been able to come close to her. Marta Bastianelli managed second (UAE Team ADQ), but wasn’t even near Wiebes’ wheel.
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) consolidated her lead in the general classification. With the help of her accumulated bonus seconds from stage wins and intermediate sprints, she now has a lead of eighteen seconds over Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), lying in second place, who has so far been unable to outsprint her.
Wiebes also leads the points classification, with 27 points to Balsamo’s 9. Anna Henderson (Team Jumbo-Visma) has comfortably won the mountains classification, with a 14 point lead over the next-placed Quinty Ton (Liv Racing Xstra); as long as she finishes tomorrow, she will take home the jersey. Henderson also leads the best British rider classification, after Alice Barnes (Canyon//SRAM) dropped from the peloton on the final circuits. Vittoria Guazzini (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) continues to lead the youth classification, and Valcar – Travel & Service lead the team classification.