How the Race Finished
It was heartbreak for Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma), who was caught less than a kilometre from the finish line, after spending 40km on a solo breakaway in race in her home country. Instead, it was the predicted sprint finish between the big names: Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) took first, ahead of Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) in second, and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) in third, with Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) in fourth.
The Main Action
The peloton was very calm around the opening circuit, through the narrow, enclosed roads of Essex. Given that the day was sunny but windy, there was a threat of action as they passed an exposed section around a lake, but although things sped up, there were no splits. There were a few brief attacks: one led by Le Col-Wahoo, that took a group of 15 clear, and another led by Jumbo-Visma, that took about 5 riders clear, but both were quickly caught. There were also a few crashes on the narrow roads, leading several riders to abandon.
The race lit up as they approached the finishing circuit, starting with a trip up the sharp hill for the first time up the finish line: the big sprinters were clearly interested in the first intermediate sprint, and its accompanying bonus seconds. It was a fairly predictable result, with Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) picking up three seconds, Lotte Kopecky (SD Worx) taking two, and Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) taking the final one.
It was then Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) who then made a move that stuck. The British national time-trial champion attacked alone and quickly developed a significant lead, going out, at one point, to a minute and forty seconds. The tight, winding roads of the final circuit were to the advantage of a solo rider, and she held the peloton off, until, agonizingly, the foot of the final climb, less than a kilometre from the finish line. As some consolation, she will go into the Queen of the Mountains jersey, after having picked up all the points alone.
The peloton surged up the climb. Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) opened up her sprint early, before the climb had even finished, and as they came round the final sharp corner, into a 200m finishing strait, it was only Wiebes and Balsamo who could come past her, with Wiebes ultimately taking the victory.
Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) leads the general classification and the points classification, with Elisa Balsamo (Trek – Segafredo) and Emma Norsgaard (Movistar) second and third respectively in both classifications. Anna Henderson (Jumbo-Visma) leads the Queen of the Mountains classification, after having gone through both Queen of the Mountains points alone during her solo breakaway. Vittora Guazzini (FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope) leads the youth classification.