Wiggle Honda’s Jolien D’hoore got her hands in the air to celebrate taking first place at Stage Two of the Women’s Tour today.
As predicted the race came down to a bunch sprint, though a breakaway that formed formed soon after the first Queen of the Mountains climb did continue until the last kilometers.
The 138km stage from Braintree to Clacton-on-Sea was fairly flat, but more rolling than stage one, making for a leg-sapping experience for the riders who arrived back to the pitts sharing thousand yard stares of exhaustion shortly after midday.
Attacks began close to the crest of the first climb, initially none of them successful, but eventually it was Corinna Lechner (German National Team) who managed to extend a lead of 20 seconds. She was joined by Vera Koedooder (Bigla) and together they drew out a lead up to two minutes 30 seconds.
The lead began to sink rapidly when Koedooder suffered a puncture, and the peloton began to bear down on then with aggression.
Lechner eventually dropped behind her companion and Koedooder was left to time trial to the finish, but by the 10k mark she had just a 30 second advantage, and the knowledge that the last two miles would be into a sea front headwind.
The attack was doomed, but of course gained Koedooder the Combativity Award for the stage whilst D’Hoore claimed the first place prize.
GC leader after stage one Lisa Brennauer (Velocio SRAM) sprinted to second place, retaining the Aviva Yellow Jersey and the Chain Reaction Sprint Jersey.
Elinor Barker (Matrix Fitness) retains the Best British Rider jersey, whilst Coryn Rivera (United Healthcare) took the Young Rider Jersey, and Malissa Hoskins the Orica AIS the Strava Queen of the Mountains.
Speaking after the race, D’Hoore told is: “It was pretty close in the end, I went from the last quarter but it was uphill and into a headwind which I didn’t know but it was enough to get the win. I had hoped that Giorgia Bronzini was on my wheel so I could do the lead out but she wasn’t there.”
“She [Giorgia Bronzini] told me to go from the corner and she would see if she was on my wheel or not so I just gave everything until the finish.”
“I think GC [general classification] is more for Longo Borghini or Bronzini, I just wanted to go for a stage win, I have it now so I be relaxed and I will see how the next stages will go.”
Stage Three tomorrow will be 138km from Oundle to Kettering and we’ll be covering the race live on Twitter. More pictures from our day in the team car with Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International will be back up again soon, too – so keep checking back!