The active peloton is certainly making up for a slow stage one but with a shuffle of riders in the top ten, it's almost impossible to predict winners, making this a very exciting Women's Tour. Yesterday saw crash action which has resulted in Marianne Vos breaking her collar bone and abandoning the tour early.
Let's recap on who's wearing what jersey at the start of Stage 4 in Chesterfield...
Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3) took the green OVO Energy leader jersey
Jolien D’Ho0re (Cervélo Bigla) took the Eisberg Sprints jersey
Audrey Cordon Ragot (Wiggle High5) took the black Skoda UK QoM jersey
Alice Barnes (Drops ) took the Adnams Best British Rider jersey
Katarzyna Niewiadoma (WM3) took the points jersey
Off to a rainy start in Chesterfield, the peloton set out on the challenging 123km route with a 7.7km neutral zone. 86 riders set out this morning after a number of riders suffered from illnesses, crash injuries and fatigue. This number worsened at the 23km mark when two riders dropped out of the race; Hayley Jones (WNT) after 18, Maria Sperotto (Bepink).
Three riders managed to put an 80 second lead over the peloton. These riders include Kirchmamm (Sunweb), Roy (Orica) and Gillow (FDJ) who worked hard together to increase the distance from the fragmented peloton which followed.
At 52km, Lizzie Deignan put the attack on the leaders and cleared the peloton by 13 seconds with the help of her Boels-Dolmans teammates. As the riders hit the second QoM climb, Lizzie is joined by Niewiadoma, Moolman-Pasio and Longo Borghini and Jannette Ensing. This created a fascinating set up with three strong leaders up front, five chasers 25 seconds behind and the peloton swiftly following.
At the 69km marker, we learnt that Annie Simpson (Drops Cycling) abandoned the race.
Lizzie's chase group grew to include Deignan, Majerus,van der Breggen (Boels), Moolman-Pasio (Cervélo Bigla), Longo Borghini, Cordon Ragot (Wiggle HIGH5), Niewiadoma (WM3), Brand, van Dijk (Sunweb), Cecchini (Canyon//SRAM), Ensing (Ale Cipollini), King, Jasinska (Cylance), Du Vuyst (Lares), Arzuffi (Lensworld).
At the feed station, Majerus caught up with the leading trio. At 79km, the leading quintet gained a 55 second lead on the peloton. It was at 82km that the chasing group really put the pressure on.
On the final few kilometres, Majerus puts the sprint on with Roy behind. The peloton remained 30 seconds behind. In a close two-woman battle for the line, it was Sarah Roy (Orica Scott) who crossed the line first, a brilliant win for the Aussie.
The top 10 finishers from Stage 4 of the OVO Energy Women's Tour are:
1 ROY Sarah ORS
2 MAJERUS Christine DLT
3 KIRCHMANN Leah SUN
4 BASTIANELLI Marta ALE
5 BARNES Hannah LPR
6 BRONZINI Giorgia WHT
7 MANLY Alexandra ORS
8 VAN DIJK Ellen SUN
9 BRAND Lucinda SUN
10 DE VUYST Sofie LWD
The jersey winners of the day are:
Niewiadoma will head into Stage Five still wearing the green OVO Energy jersey.
Majerus has won the points jersey
Cordon-Ragot holds onto the black Skoda UK QoM jersey
Hannah Barnes takes the Adnams Best British Rider jersey for the second time this tour
Jolien D’Ho0re takes the sprint jersey going into stage five tomorrow.