The first round of the OVO Energy Women's Tour got underway today in the town of Daventry where hordes of spectators came out to cheer on the athletes. With an electrifying buzz in the air, three jerseys are up for grabs this year...
Green Stage Winner jersey - OVO Energy
Black Queen of the Mountain jersey - Skoda UK
Sprints jersey - Eisberg
Points jersey - Wiggle Bike Shop
Best British Rider jersey - Adnams
The riders took their positions on the line and before long, they were off.
Starting off with a neutral zone just shy of 10km, the peloton headed out of Daventry and onto Long Buckby where the race really began.
Despite sunny skies, the wind was fierce in the first few kilometres and just 19km into the race, Georgia Baker (Orica Scott) took a tumble and was taken to a hospital, leaving 98 riders left to race the first stage.
The first QoM climb swiftly approached 24km into the race. The Hasselbach is a category three climb measuring 1.4km in length to really stretch out and test the riders. The reigning French TT champion, Audrey Cordon (Wiggle High5) took the win on the climb, followed by Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3 Energie) and Shara Gillow (FDJ).
Doris Schweizer (Team VeloCONCEPT) dropped out of the peloton around the 50km mark owing to ill health.
At the 73km mark, the peloton reached the 2nd QoM challenge at Rockingham Hill. A second category climb measuring 1km in length where we saw Audrey Cordon (Wiggle High5) take the win again and securing the black Skoda UK QoM jersey.
At the 89km mark, it was confirmed that Krista Doebel-Hicock (Cylance) suffered a crash and abandoned the race. Just 9km later, Katia Ragusa (Bepink Cogeas) also abandoned the race, leaving 96 participants.
It was at the 100km mark where Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3) made her break with little response from the peloton. Leaving the attacks late into the race, Niewiadoma gained over 3 mins of lead time with just 20km remaining.
After a 47.5km breakaway, the lone front rider Katarzyna Niewiadoma crossed the line to take the first win of the Women's Tour and secure the green OVO Energy leader jersey. The top ten results from today are as follows:
1 NIEWIADOMA Katarzyna WM3
2 VOS Marianne WM3
3 MAJERUS Christine DLT
4 BRONZINI Giorgia WHT
5 CROMWELL Tiffany LPR
6 SIGGAARD Christina TVW
7 BARNES Alice DRP
8 MOOLMAN-PASIO Ashleigh CBT
9 CONFALONIERI Maria Giulia LWK
10 FOURNIER Roxane FDJ
Lisa Klein (Cervélo Bigla) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey.
Audrey Cordon Ragot (Wiggle High5) took the black Skoda UK QoM jersey
Alica Barnes (Drops Cycling ) took the Adnams Best British Rider jersey for finishing in 7th
Tune in tomorrow at 11:00 when the peloton take on the 144.5km loop around Stoke-on-Trent.