How the Race Finished
As seems increasingly inevitable, Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) won today’s sprint, after a blistering leadout from Pfeiffer Georgi and Charlotte Kool. Although attacks on the short, sharp hills meant Wiebes was originally dropped, the cooperation of the leading group collapsed, and Wiebes was let back in just in time for the finale. Alex Manly (BikeExchange-Jayco) came in second, and Coryn Labecki (Jumbo-Visma) came in third.
The Main Action
It was a rolling course through Gloucestershire, 105km from Tewkesbury to Gloucester, on a day that was spotted with rain. Riejanne Markus (Jumbo-Visma) started off the day’s action, with a solo attack. The racing was aggressive behind her, but although she was hovering in sight of the peloton for a while, she didn’t look back, and by the time she hit the base of the first categorized climb, she had a gap of 1’20”.
Over the first QoM, Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) set a tough pace; the peloton stretched out behind her, with the yellow jersey, Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) starting to drift off the back. Markus took maximum points, with Elise Chabbey (Canyon//SRAM) taking second, and Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (SD Worx) taking third.
Over the top of the climb, the current leader of the mountains classification, Christine Majerus (SD Worx) broke off the front of the peloton, along with Gladys Verhulst (Le Col – Wahoo). Using the descent, they quickly bridged across to Markus. The three-strong break had a gap of a minute. Elynor Backstedt (Trek-Segafredo) made an attempt to join them, but she was chased back down by Human Powered Health.
As they approached the second Queen of the Mountains, Verhulst began to drift off the back, but Majerus and Markus pushed on the summit, fighting for the points. Behind them, attacks started to go from the main group: first Mikaela Harvey (Canyon//SRAM), which was chased down by Ellen van Dijk (Trek-Segafredo), and then a more decisive attack from Kasia Niewiadoma (also Canyon//SRAM), which forced a split. The momentum from the attack meant they caught Majerus and Markus.
With 20km to go, there was a front group of around 16 – which, crucially, did not include Lorena Wiebes. However, as attacks started to go – several from just Kristen Faulkner (BikeExchange) – the front group grew wary, spreading across the road and looking at each other. This gave the chasing group, particularly driven on by Le Col – Wahoo, the opportunity to make it back.
Once Wiebes clawed her way back to the front group, and the sprint leadouts started, it was difficult to see any outcome other than victory for her. Her teammates came to the front in the final stretch, set a vicious pace, and, once Wiebes started her sprint, she was untouchable.
Other notable results within the top ten are Ingvild Gaskjenn in ninth for Coop-Hitec Products, and Elisa Longo Borghini in fifth for Trek-Segafredo.
Lorena Wiebes now leads the general classification, with Sofia Bertizzolo (UAE Team ADQ) in second, and Alexandra Manly jumping up into third. Wiebes also leads the points classification, with Copponi moving down into second, and Shari Bossuyt (Canyon//SRAM) moving up into third. Christine Majerus (SD Worx) continues to lead the mountains classification, after breaking away to get maximum points over the second QoM, with Elise Chabbey on the same number of points, and Riejanne Markus in third, after her breakaway today. Canyon//SRAM currently lead the team classification.